Skip to main content

Full text of "Longchenpa-The Precious Treasury Of The Way Of Abiding"

See other formats



nil PRECIOUS I RfcASURY OF 

THE WAY OF ABIDING 


Longchcn Rahjam 


The Seven Treasuries Series 


This is one of seven volumes written by Longchen 
Rabjam that, as a group, have come to be known as 
The Seven Treasuries. Although Longchenpa did not 
intend them to be a series, scholars traditionally treat 
them as such because of their interrelated themes. 

The next volume in the series will be The Precious 
Treasury of the Basic Space of Phenomena. 


The Precious Treasury of 
the Way of Abiding 

AND 

The Exposition of the 
Quintessential Meaning of 
the Three Categories 
A Commentary on the Precious Treasury 
of the Way of Abiding 

Longchen Rabjam 

Translated under the direction of 
His Eminence Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche 
by Richard Barron (Chokyi Nyima) 

Edited by members of the 
Padma Translation Committee: c 

Susanne Fairclough, Jeff Miller, 
and Robert Racine 



PADMA PUBLISHING 
1998 



Published by Padma Publishing 
P.O. Box 2 79 

Junction City, California 96048-0279 
© Padma Publishing 1998 

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced 
in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, 
including photocopying, recording, or any information storage 
or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. 

Printed in the United States of America 

02 01 00 99 98 54321 

Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication Data 

Klon-chen-pa Dri-med-’od-zer; 1308-1363 
[Gnas lugs mdzod. English] 

The precious treasury of the way of abiding and The exposition of the quintessentia 
meaning of the three categories : a commentary on the precious treasury of the way < 
abiding / Longchen Rabjam : translated from the Tibetan by Richard Barron 
(Chokyi Nyima) ; edited by the Padma Translation Committee. 

p. cm. 

Includes bibliographical references. 
isbn 1-881847-09-8 

1 . Rdzogs-chen (Rnin-ma-pa) — Early works to 1800. I. Barron, Richard. 

II. Padma Translation Committee. III. Title. 
BQ7662.4.K54313 1998 

293. 3923 — dc2i 


isbn 1-881847-09-8 (hardback) 


98-10684 

CIP 


Contents 


Foreword , by His Eminence Cbagdud Tulku Rinpoche vii 

Introduction, by Venerable Tulku Thondup Rinpoche xi 

Translation Committee's Preface xxi 

The Source Verses t 

The Commentary 65 

Introduction 67 

The Vajra Premise 75 

1 The Theme of Ineffability 8 1 

2 The Theme of Openness 143 

3 The Theme of Spontaneous Presence 165 

4 The Theme of Oneness 205 

5 The Individuals to Whom These Teachings 

May Be Entrusted 23 5 

Conclusion < 259 


Notes 2 69 

Sources Cited 281 

Word List 28<t 


v 



Foreword 

His Eminence Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche 


The publication of this English translation of Longchen Rabjam’s The 
Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding should be a cause for rejoic- 
ing on the part of deeply committed English-speaking Buddhists who 
aspire to realize the Dzogchen, or Great Perfection, transmission of 
vajrayana Buddhism. Though there are many spiritual traditions in 
this world, Buddhism offers the deepest examination of what consti- 
tutes the root of samsara, and of how to deal with all levels of ob- 
scurations and attain liberation. Among Buddhist teachings, none are 
more profound, more capable of freeing the mind from its most subtle 
obscurations, than those of the Great Perfection. 

Yet, because Great Perfection transmission leads to wisdom be- 
yond words and concepts, the translation of Dzogchen texts presents 
tremendous difficulties. Some lamas have said that it is not even 
worth the attempt, that too much distortion results. I respect their 
opinion, but I feel that those of us with the supreme fortune to receive 
authentic transmission from great Dzogchen masters have a responsi- 
bility to maintain the oral lineage, including translation, as well as the 
mind-to-mind lineage of realization. If we eschew this work, the pre- 
cious Great Perfection teachings will remain inaccessible to some ex- 
cellent Western practitioners who have potential as meditators but 
who do not know Tibetan. An avenue for the flourishing of the trans- 
mission will be cut off. 

I am also gravely concerned about the translations of Great Perfec- 
tion texts produced by Westerners who know Tibetan but who rely 

vii 



viii Foreword 

solely on scholarly knowledge, without recourse to teachers. Intellec- 
tual understanding alone, without the ripening process that takes 
place under the direction of qualified Dzogchen teachers, will cer- 
tainly result in misguided translations, perpetuated in misguided med- 
itation by those who base their spiritual practice on such translations. 
But again, if qualified Dzogchen masters refrain from working with 
translations because they fear imperfect results, can they lament when 
even more erroneous translations are published? 

The translator of this text, Richard Barron (Chokyi Nyima), has 
truly mastered both literary and spoken Tibetan, but his deeper under- 
standing is based on an extended retreat under the guidance of His 
Eminence Kalu Rinpoche, on a number of six-week Dzogchen re- 
treats, and on listening to and translating the teachings of many emi- 
nent lamas. He has translated other Great Perfection texts and sa- 
dhanas, notably Dudjom Lingpa’s Buddhahood Without Meditation , 
under my direction. He thus brings more capability to his work than 
mere theoretical and intellectual competence. The other members of 
the translation committee working with him likewise have a ground- 
ing in both the study of Dzogchen terminology and participation in 
annual Dzogchen retreats. Such learned scholars as Khenpo Petse 
Rinpoche and Khenpo Chodzod have been consulted on many details 
of the translation. I myself have brought to the process whatever 
Dzogchen understanding I have attained in the course of a long life- 
time of study and meditation. 

This means that while we have not necessarily produced a flawless 
work, we have confidence in this initial attempt. A great deal of 
time — years of effort, in fact — and expense have gone into the transla- 
tion and editing. It should be understood that a work of this kind is 
not casually read and easily comprehended. For most people, the text 
is quite difficult to fathom, because its meaning unfolds according to 
the depth of their spiritual preparation. However, simply having the 
book in one’s home is more valuable than having statues or stupas, for 
this is truly a relic of the dharmakaya. Such a holy work carries pow- 
erful blessings and is a worthy object of faith and devotion. 

We intend to continue with this project and publish translations of 
other volumes of Longchen Rabjam’s Seven Treasuries . We encourage 


Foreword ix 

anyone with knowledge and experience of the Great Perfection to 
contact us with suggestions, clarifications, or corrections, which we 
will consider for incorporation into future editions. May this precious 
text illuminate the minds of all who read and venerate it. 



Introduction 

Venerable Tulku Thondup Rinpoche 


The Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding with its autocommen- 
tary is one of the Seven Treasuries by Kunkhyen Longchen Rabjam 
(1308-1363). Longchen Rabjam was one of the greatest masters and 
most prolific writers of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. 
This text details the approach to the discipline of ethics of Dzogpa 
Chenpo (the Great Perfection). 

Biographical Sketch of Longchen Rabjam 

Longchen Rabjam 1 was born in the Tra Valley of southern Tibet on 
the tenth day of the second month of the Earth Monkey year (1308). 
When he was conceived, his mother dreamed of a sun above a lion’s 
head illuminating the whole world. At his birth, a dharma protectress 
appeared and, holding the baby in her arms, said, “I will protect him.” 
Longchen Rabjam was a reincarnation of Princess Pemasal (ninth 
century A.D.), whom Guru Rinpoche had entrusted with the transmis- 
sion of the Khadro Nyingfhig teachings. The princess took rebirth 
several centuries later as Pema Ledrel Tsai (1291-?), who discovered 
the Khadro Nyingfhig as a terma (hidden treasure teaching) and who 
in'turn was reborn as Longchen Rabjam. 


1 This sketch of Longchen Rab jam’s life is adapted from Masters of Meditation and 
Miracles , by Tulku Thondup (Boston: Shambhala, 1 996). 


xi 



xii Introduction 

From childhood, Longchen Rabjam was endowed with the quali- 
ties of a noble being — faith, compassion, and wisdom. At the age of 
five, he could read and write with no difficulty. At seven, he was 
trained in medicine and astrology by his father and received esoteric 
transmissions from him as well. At twelve, Longchen Rabjam took 
the ordination of a novice monk from Khenpo Samdrup Rinchen at 
Samye Monastery and was given the name Tsultrim Lodro. 

At nineteen, he went to the famous Sangp’hu Neut’hang monastic 
seminary, where he studied Buddhist philosophy, logic, and medita- 
tion for six years with Lopon Tsen-gonpa, Chopal Gyaltsen, and oth- 
ers. He studied texts and received transmissions of sutras and tantras 
from more then twenty teachers. Because of his gift for scholarship, he 
became renowned as Samye Lungmangwa (Master of Scriptures from 
Samye) and Longchen Rabjam (Master of Infinite Realization). 

At twenty-seven, he met Rigdzin Kumaradza (1266-1343), the 
holder of the Vima Nyingfhig teachings, in the highlands of Yarto 
Kyam Valley. He studied with Rigdzin Kumaradza for two years, re- 
ceiving instructions on all three divisions of Dzogpa Chenpo. But the 
main emphasis of his studies was the texts of the four cycles of the 
Men Ngag De division, namely the Outer, Inner, Esoteric, and Inner- 
most Esoteric cycles. 

While he was studying with Rigdzin Kumaradza, Longchen Rab- 
jam lived under extremely austere conditions. To combat attachment to 
the material world, Rigdzin Kumaradza moved from place to place, 
never settling anywhere for long. In nine months, he and his disciples 
moved camp nine times, causing great hardship for Longchen Rabjam 
and everyone else. No sooner would he get used to a simple life in 
some temporary shelter — usually a cave — that protected him from the 
snow and freezing wind, than he would have to move again. He sub- 
sisted on very little food and slept only on a sack, which served as 
both his mattress and blanket. It was under such hardship that he re- 
ceived transmission of the most rare and precious tantras and instruc- 
tions of the three divisions of Dzogpa Chenpo. At the end of two 
years, Rigdzin Kumaradza empowered Longchen Rabjam as the lin- 
eage holder of his teachings. 

Then for the next six or seven years, Longchen Rabjam maintained 
strict solitary meditation retreats, mainly at Samye Chimp’hu. At 


Introduction xiii 

thirty-two, while still in retreat, he conferred the transmission of the 
Vima Nyingfhig on his disciples at Nyip’hu Shuksep in Kang-ri 
T’hokar. For some time the surroundings became luminous; everyone 
heard mystical sounds and experienced pure visions. 

Soon the yogin Ozer Kocha and the dharma protectress Shenpa 
Sogdrupma offered him the text of the Khadro Nyingfhig , discovered 
as a terma by Pema Ledrel Tsai. Although Longchen Rabjam was the 
reincarnation of the discoverer of the Khadro Nyingfhig , in order to 
demonstrate the importance of preserving the transmission for future 
followers, he went to Sho Gyalse, a disciple of Pema Ledrel Tsai, from 
whom he received the transmission of the Khadro Nyingfhig . 

At thirty-three, he gave the Khadro Nyingfhig teachings to eight 
male and female disciples at Samye Chimp’hu. Some of the disciples 
saw him in sambhogakaya form. A rain of flowers showered down. 
Arcs, beams, and spheres of colored light were seen everywhere. All 
those assembled sang and danced amid the overwhelming experience 
of the display of wisdom. For a long time the disciples were absorbed 
in the experience of deep luminous clarity, which transcends sleep and 
waking reality. At this, Longchen Rabjam sang: 

O yogins! I am happy and joyous. 

Tonight, we are the unexcelled pure land. 

Our body is the palace of peaceful and wrathful deities. 

In it prospers the assembly of buddhas, [the union of] clarity 
and emptiness. 

Buddhahood is not somewhere else, but within us. 

He repeatedly visited his master Rigdzin Kumaradza to perfect his 
own realization. He offered all of what little he possessed to his mas- 
ter five times to purify his clinging to material objects. 

Then he moved to Kang-ri T’hokar, where he spent the greater part 
of his later life composing most of his famous works. People wit- 
nessed many dharma protectors in human form serving him by pre- 
paring paper and ink when he wrote. His meditative realization of 
Dzogpa Chenpo reached the state of “the perfection of intrinsic aware- 
ness” {rig pa tshad phebs). 

In Bhutan he gave teachings to assemblies that sometimes num- 
bered one hundred thousand. He established T’harpa Ling Monastery 



xiv Introduction 


Introduction 


XV 


in Bumt’hang and Samten Ling Monastery in Patro. His son, Tulku 
Trakpa Ozer (1356-1409?), was born to his consort, Kyidpa, of 
Bhutan. 

Longchen Rabjam became one of the greatest scholars and real- 
ized sages of Tibet. Crowds of disciples followed him wherever he 
went, but he remained a simple hermit with minimal belongings, often 
dwelling in caves. 

He saw solitude in nature as a source of spiritual awakening. For 
him, nature’s peaceful and clear environment inspired peace and clar- 
ity, enabling practitioners to unite with ultimate joy, to attain the one- 
ness of universal openness and luminous clarity. He wrote: 

Far from towns bustling with entertainment, 
living in the forest naturally increases one’s peaceful absorption, 
creates harmony between life and the dharma, tames the mind, 
and brings one to the attainment of ultimate joy. 2 

He avoided building monasteries and lived in solitude, advising his 
followers to do the same: 

Gathering many followers through various means 

and establishing monastic seats and facilities 

causes attachment in one’s own mind and conflicts with others. 

So my heart advice to you is to live in solitude. 3 

He was direct and sincere and, caring only about helping others, 
never courted favor or sought approval. However great were the of- 
ferings made to him, he never expressed gratitude, saying merely, “Let 
the patrons have the opportunity to accumulate merit, rather than be- 
ing rewarded for their offerings by expressions of gratitude.” He 
never showed reverence to a layperson, however politically powerful, 
but instead said, “Homage should be paid to the Three Jewels but not 
to mundane people. It is not right to reverse the roles of lama and pa- 
tron.” He was immensely kind to the poor and suffering. He enjoyed 


2 Folio 69b/z, Nags tsbal kun tu dga’ ba’i gtam , by Ngagi Wangpo (Longchen Rab- 
jam) (Adzom edition). 

3 Folio 55a/3, sNying gtam sum chu pa rtsom gsung thor bu , by Longchen Rabjam. 

Sung Thorbu (Adzom edition). 


with great pleasure the simple food they offered and said many 
prayers of aspiration for them. Anything offered to him with faith he 
used strictly for the dharma, never for any mundane or selfish purpose. 

At the age of fifty-six, he unexpectedly started dictating his spiri- 
tual testament, entitled The Immaculate Radiance , which includes the 
following lines: 

The nature of the mind is the ultimate sphere, like space. 

The nature of space is the nature of the mind, the innate nature. 

In meaning they are not separate. 

They are the oneness of great perfection. 

Please realize the nature at this very moment. . . . 

My delight at death is much greater than 

the joy of traders who have made their fortunes at sea, 

the lords of the gods who have proclaimed their victory in wai; 

or those sages who are abiding in absorption. 

Now, Pema Ledrel Tsai will not remain here much longer. 

I go to secure the blissful and deathless nature. 4 

At Samye Chimp’hu, he announced the approach of his death and 
started to show signs of physical illness. However, he continued to ad- 
dress the huge gathering that had assembled for his teachings. 

On the sixteenth day of the twelfth month of the Water Hare year 
(1363), he performed an elaborate offering ceremony with his dis- 
ciples. He then gave them his last teachings on impermanence and in- 
spired them to practice the trekcho and togal meditations of Dzogpa 
Chenpo. On the eighteenth, while he was seated in dharmakaya pos- 
ture, his mind merged into the ultimate sphere. All those present felt 
the earth tremble and heard roaring resound from the sky. While his 
body was preserved for twenty-five days, a tent of rainbows arched 
across the sky. Even in those coldest of months in Tibet, the earth be- 
came warm, the ice melted, and roses bloomed. At the time of crema- 
tion, the earth trembled three times and a loud sound reverberated 
seven times. Many ringsels (small white pellets) and five kinds of 
dungchens (larger pellets of different colors) emerged from the bones 

/Folio 132^5, Zhal chems dri ma med pa’i ’ od , by Longchen Rabiam. Khadro Nying- 
tbig , Vol. Hum (Adzom edition). 



xvi Introduction 

as an indication of his attainment of the five kayas and five wisdoms 
of buddhahood. 

Longchen Rabjam wrote more than two hundred and fifty trea- 
tises on history, ethics, sutric and tantric teachings, and, especially, 
Dzogpa Chenpo. He presented all of his teachings in the form of com- 
positions. But many scholars have affirmed that most of his works on 
the tantras and on Dzogpa Chenpo are actually gongter (mind trea- 
sure teachings), discovered through the power of his enlightened mind. 
The foremost collection of his works is The Seven Treasuries (mDzod 
bdun ), comprising a total of eleven treatises. The present text incorpo- 
rates two of these, The Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding and 
its autocommentary. 

Dzogpa Chenpo 

According to Dzogpa Chenpo (atiyoga), the entire corpus of Buddhist 
teachings is classified into two divisions: the exoteric (sutric) and eso- 
teric (tantric) teachings. The exoteric teachings are further divided 
into three yanas (vehicles): those of shravakas, pratyekabuddhas, and 
mahayanists. The esoteric teachings are divided into six tantras: the 
three outer tantras of kriyayoga, charyayoga, and yogatantra and the 
three inner tantras of mahayoga, anuyoga, and atiyoga. These three 
yanas and six tantras constitute “the nine yanas.” 

Dzogpa Chenpo is the pinnacle of the nine yanas. It encompasses 
the qualities of all of them, 5 since the higher yanas embody the merits 
of the lower ones. In order to realize Dzogpa Chenpo, most of us need 
to develop through gradual stages of training. This is why the lower 
yanas are essential stepping stones for the higher ones. Furthermore, 
many of us may never be ready for the highest yanas, and the lower 
ones might be the only suitable path. Practitioners journey toward the 
goal of buddhahood, directly or indirectly, following these different 
paths. Higher yanas are more direct and powerful, and enable one to 
reach the goal more swiftly than do the lower ones. 


5 Folio 62a/4, Chos dbyings mdzod ’grel lung gi gter mdzod , by Longchen Rabjam 

(Adzom edition). 


Introduction xvii 

Summarizing Dzogpa Chenpo meditation, Longchen Rabjam writes: 

It is important to look directly at [the nature of] thoughts 
when they arise. 

It is important to remain in [the nature] when you are 
certain of it. 

It is important to have the meditationless meditation 
as your meditation. 

Without wavering, maintain it: this is my heart advice. 6 

The Third Dodrupchen (1865-1926) explains how to realize in- 
trinsic awareness (rig pa): 

Use intrinsic awareness as the way [meditation]. Maintain only 
that awareness. Do not employ any concepts, since concepts are 
mind [and not the nature of mind]. Meditate [on intrinsic aware- 
ness after] having distinguished between mind and intrinsic 
awareness. 7 

Through such training one attains the absolute perfection of the 
realization of intrinsic awareness, which is the ultimate universal na- 
ture. Longchen Rabjam writes: 

The true nature of the world is the true nature of the mind. 

It is never born and is beyond sorrow. 

Liberation will be attained by seeing the nature of the mind itself, 
the true nature of phenomena. 

Then there is no other peace to attain. 8 

Intrinsic awareness is luminous wisdom, the union of appearances 
and openness (snang stong ). It embodies the three kayas: like space, 
its essence is openness, the dharmakaya; like light, its nature is clarity, 
the sambhogakaya; like radiance, its compassion is omnipresent and 
powerful, the nirmanakaya. 

% 

6 Folio 573/3, sNying gtam sum cbu pa rtsom gsung thor bu y by Longchen Rabjam. 
Sung Thorbu (Adzom edition). 

7 Folio 7b/4, rDzogs chen thor bu 3 by Jigme Tenpe Nyima (Dodrup Sangye Lama 
edition). 

/ 8 Folio 4 a/i, rDzogs pa chen po sems nyid rang grol, by Drime Ozer (Longchen Rab- 
jam) (Adzom edition). 



xviii Introduction 


Introduction xix 


Dzogpa Chenpo asserts that the true nature of mind is intrinsic 
awareness, the fully enlightened nature. It might appear to be similar 
to the view of the Mind Only (Chittamatra) school, which asserts the 
presence of a thoroughly established ( yongs grub) buddha nature. 
Dzogpa Chenpo, however, does not view the true nature of mind as 
thoroughly established, but rather as awareness free of elaboration 
(spros bral ). Freedom from elaboration is the main philosophical po- 
sition of the Consequence (Prasangika) view of the Middle Way 
(Madhyamika) school. In fact, Longchen Rabjam himself makes 
clear 9 that the view of Dzogpa Chenpo is in agreement with the Con- 
sequence view. 

Through the path of Dzogpa Chenpo, intrinsic awareness awakens 
instantly, but to awaken and perfect such realization, we must go 
through various levels of gross and subtle experiences to peel away 
many layers of dualistic habits. To accomplish this, we must rely on 
the honest guidance of experienced teachers, the strength of meritori- 
ous deeds, and the power of enlightened blessings. 

Most of the great traditional Dzogpa Chenpo teachers would 
strongly discourage their students from reading anything about 
Dzogpa Chenpo that they are not yet ready to experience. Students 
might form concepts about the experience of Dzogpa Chenpo based 
on intellectual information before they have a sufficient meditative 
foundation. Then it would be hard to determine whether their experi- 
ence is authentic or just imagined on the basis of conceptual informa- 
tion gained prematurely. So, until they are ready, those who are seri- 
ous about seeking authentic realization should avoid any writings or 
oral teachings on Dzogpa Chenpo that explain the practical steps of 
meditation and their stages of experience. 

Some lower yanas can lead to the cessation of suffering and others 
to the attainment of buddhahood in a number of lifetimes. By training 
in Dzogpa Chenpo, however, one can attain in a few years the fully 
enlightened state, endowed with the three kayas and the five wisdoms. 
In this way, one can benefit every being who is open to one’s enlight- 
ened intent (dgongs pa). 

9 Folio 76 b/i, Chos dbyings mdzod *grel lung gi gter mdzod, by Longchen Rabjam 
(Adzom edition). 


When Dzogpa Chenpo masters die, there are frequently miracu- 
lous signs indicating that they have reached the highest goal. At the 
time of their death, a few masters in this lineage attained “the light 
body of great transformation” (’ja’ lus * pho ba chen po ). That is, their 
gross body was transformed into a light body with the capacity to 
benefit others. Many attained “the rainbow body” ( 9 ja* lus). That is, 
emanating colorful rays and spheres of light, their gross body totally 
dissolved at the time of death, leaving only nails and hair behind. 
Sonam Namgyal (d. 1952) was one of the most recent meditators to 
attain a rainbow body, as was witnessed by many. Others left in their 
cremation ashes ringsek , dungs , and bones imprinted with images of 
deities as a sign of their attainment of buddhahood. 

The Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding 

The Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding, or The Precious Trea- 
sury on the Ultimate Nature (gNas lugs rin po che’i mdzod), is a dis- 
course on the four unique disciplineless disciplines (samayas) of 
Dzogpa Chenpo. These are the disciplines of transcending (or ineffa- 
bility) and openness of trekcho and the disciplines of oneness and 
spontaneous perfection (or spontaneous presence) of togal. 

Meditators who have realized the true meaning of Dzogpa Chenpo 
and who are progressing through higher stages of Dzogpa Chenpo re- 
alization do not need to observe any discipline, as it will only restrict 
and condition their minds and actions. These meditators have already 
transcended mundane concepts of duality and afflicting emotions. For 
them, there is no self to project and no self to grasp at or cherish. 
Whatever they say or do becomes a source of ultimate peace and ben- 
efit for others and themselves. Remaining in the four disciplineless 
disciplines is the discipline. These are realizing (a) the nonexistence 
(med pa) of restrictions and (b) total openness ( phyal ba), that is, free- 
dom from duality, and experiencing (c) the oneness (gcig pu) of sub- 
ject, object, and action and (d) the spontaneous presence ( Ihun grub) 
of original purity (ka dag). 

The Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding elucidates these four 
disciplines under four topics: (a) explaining their key points as they 
A are, (b) determining that they are self-arisen ultimate primordial wis- 



xx Introduction 


dom, (c) reasoning that they are unborn and transcend the field of 
thoughts, and (d) perfecting their final goals, which transcend efforts 
and causal effects. 

In order to attain ultimate freedom, the great master Paltrul Rin- 
poche (1808-1887) recommends this text as the supreme guide: 

The way of abiding [or ultimate nature ], the dharmakaya, 
in which there is nothing to uphold, transcends causality. 

This is the treasury of Samantabhadra’s visions. 

Through such excellent teachings, if you can’t stop your 
mental elaborations 

how can you dismantle your clinging thoughts through 
conceptual spiritual approaches? 10 

Under the guidance of the great Dzogpa Chenpo master Chagdud 
Tulku Rinpoche, a translation committee headed by the most gifted 
lotsawa Chokyi Nyima has made this precious teaching, one of the 
canonical texts of Dzogpa Chenpo, available in English. On behalf of 
the golden lineage of Longchen Rabjam, it is my privilege to offer my 
gratitude to all who have dedicated their lives to bringing the new 
dawn of these supreme teachings to the Western world. It is also my 
obligation to beseech readers not to turn these ambrosia-like teach- 
ings into commercial commodities or tools for mere intellectual 
stimulation, but to welcome them as the means of awakening the 
union of intrinsic awareness and ultimate openness, free of limita- 
tions, in the hearts of all. 


10 Folio 2 a/ 1, Kun mkbyen klong chen pa’i gsun grab mdzod bdun la blta bar bskul 
ba , by Paltrul Rinpoche. Paltrul Sungbum, Vol. Ka (Chendu edition, edited by 
Zenkar Rinpoche). 


Translation Committee’s 
Preface 


The Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding, one volume in the great 
Longchen Rab jam’s famous collection, The Seven Treasuries, consists 
of a set of source verses and Longchen Rab jam’s own commentary on 
them. In traditional Buddhist writing, important works are often 
structured in this way. The verses provide a summary of the subject 
matter dealt with at length in the prose commentary and have the ad- 
vantage of being more easily memorized than the complete text. In- 
deed, in the past, studying such texts included committing the verses 
to memory, enabling the student to readily call to mind the issues 
elaborated on in the commentary. The present volume preserves this 
structure: the beginning section, containing the source verses, is fol- 
lowed by the commentary, within which the verses (printed in bold- 
face type) are cited by Longchen Rabjam as steps in the development 
of his presentation. 

To some extent, each volume of The Seven Treasuries addresses the 
spiritual approach of the Great Perfection, or Dzogchen, the pinnacle 
of Buddhist thought and practice according to the Nyingma school. 
As the title of its commentary (“The Exposition of the Quintessential 
Meaning of the Three Categories”) indicates, The Precious Treasury 
of the Way of Abiding focuses on the three categories of Dzogchen — 
Mind, Expanse, and Direct Transmission — especially the third cat- 
egory. The true value and meaning of such a text can be approached 
pnly from this higher perspective. 


xxi 



xxii Translation Committee’s Preface 

This text contains a detailed discussion of the four major principles 
of samaya entailed in Dzogchen practice and experience, not as disci- 
plines to be maintained but rather as the ideal way of being — the 
“way of abiding” — to which one remains true in following this spiri- 
tual path. As the names of these samaya principles suggest, their truth 
lies in the direct experience one gains of the way in which all things 
truly abide by their very nature. 

The Dzogchen approach is said to “speak its own language,” em- 
ploying terminology and styles of presentation that are often unique. 
As such, it must be understood on its own grounds, and too literal an 
interpretation can lead to enormous misunderstandings. In the Dzog- 
chen sources from which Longchen Rabjam quotes so liberally — espe- 
cially The All-Creating Monarch (traditionally considered the primary 
source tantra of the Category of Mind) and many of the seventeen 
source tantras of the Category of Direct Transmission — the language 
employed is sometimes quasi-theistic. However, this should not be in- 
terpreted as a divine creator speaking to others, but rather as the very 
nature of being communicating with itself. As well, the exegesis found 
in the present text is geared to students of the highest acumen and so 
does not require the argumentation and lines of reasoning employed 
in lower spiritual approaches. Longchen Rabjam assumes that the 
reader will grasp the implications without requiring more elaborate 
conceptual proofs. 

It is common for terms used in a Dzogchen context to differ in 
meaning from the same terms used in other contexts. In translating 
key Dzogchen terms, we have attempted to choose meanings that are 
neither too narrow nor appropriate only in other Buddhist ap- 
proaches; to do so would be to miss their wide-ranging significance 
within the expansive view of Dzogchen. To make the text more acces- 
sible to the reader, we have tried to avoid both extremes of using 
“dharma jargon” (words and phrases that are all too familiar but 
whose meaning is vague) and reverting to English that is based on 
Western paradigms (which may have inappropriate associations). 
Though extremely profound, Dzogchen does not rely on complex 
thought processes; its language is simple (which is not to say simplis- 
tic) and is meant to be simple to read, with the deeper import becom- 
ing clear only when one works with a teacher. 


Translation Committee’s Preface xxiii 

We have retained certain Sanskrit terms. Some of these terms are 
well on their way to becoming familiar in colloquial English or are al- 
ready in Western dictionaries (for example, “mahayana”). Other 
terms (for example, “vajra” and “dharmakaya”) carry a wealth or 
breadth of meaning that is not easily translated into English. 

A brief discussion of the Tibetan term medpa is in order because of 
the importance of the term in this work and because we translate it in 
two ways — as “nonexistence” and as “ineffability.” In other Buddhist 
approaches, medpa is usually translated as “nonexistence.” In the 
Dzogchen approach, however, the term is not limited to that meaning, 
for it can also denote that which transcends both extremes of exist- 
ence and nonexistence, in which case we have chosen to translate it as 
“ineffability.” 

In preparing this translation, we consulted three different editions 
of The Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding. Our primary source, 
and perhaps the most readily available of these editions, is the one 
printed from wood blocks carved at the Adzom Chogar printery in 
eastern Tibet, presumably in the early part of this century. These 
prints were brought out of Tibet and published by H.H. Dodrupchen 
Rinpoche in Gangtok, Sikkim, as a photo offset edition. We were also 
fortunate to have access to a recently corrected and reissued edition 
of the same blocks (which we refer to as the “revised Adzom Chogar 
edition”) acquired by H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche on his visit to 
eastern Tibet in 1987. The third edition is a photo offset of a print 
made from blocks carved at the printery in Derge (the cultural and po- 
litical center of eastern Tibet before 1959), published in 1983 by 
Sherab Gyaltsen and Khentse Labrang, Gangtok, Sikkim. Our han- 
dling of variant readings within and among these editions is discussed 
in the notes. 

We wish to express our deepest gratitude to His Eminence Chag- 
dud Tulku Rinpoche for envisioning the project of bringing this semi- 
nal collection by Longchen Rabjam to English-reading practitioners, 
and for his continuous blessings, inspiration, and guidance in seeing it 
to completion. We wish to thank Erik Schmidt (Pema Kunsang) for 
reading two drafts of the manuscript and offering valuable comments. 
Finally, we thank our copy editor, Mary Racine, as well as Linda Baer, 
Avho typeset the book. 






|$5]«j-^-avq-q^ ; gq]«]-q-I^-craj| iq^q-q^^-q^q-^-qsj-^-q^aj-Sri 


|^Sl?J - gq'5]^q23]'^q - £j^ - 53S!»v - §q]^] p^q-garq'^3^q'q]lqyq'5j] 
|5;-5;qq-qj^-q^ai-q^-q^S!«]-5qsi-?4-q|q«]| |arjjq-^^q-^-q-q^-q|^q^«jj 


j^'aj^q'q'sj^qq'qj^si-q^^'qi |^-qq'^q-q|^-q^^$rsjq-j 


2 . 


H O MAGE TO GLORIOUS SAMANTABHADRA! 

Primordial buddhahood, the ground of fully evident enlightenment, 
unchanging, spontaneously present, the basic space of the vajra 
heart essence — 

the nature of mind is natural great perfection. 

I pay homage to this, with nothing to discard or adopt, nothing 
to come or go. 

The expanse of the inexpressible nature of phenomena, 
the very pinnacle of view, is great perfection. 

Listen as I explain, according to my realization, 
the meaningfulness of that which transcends everything and is unlike 
anything else. 

For the categories of Mind, Expanse, and Direct Transmission, 
the consummate meaning of the heart essence 
is that of ineffability, openness, spontaneous presence, and oneness. 
Each of these has four divisions: revealing the key point, discerning 
the implications, 

embracing the larger scope, and coming to the decisive experience. 

Of these, I will first demonstrate the theme of ineffability. 

The ineffable nature of things is that they are empty by virtue 
of their very essence. 

In the vast expanse of awakened mind, equal to space, 

hpwever things appear, they are at the same time ineffable by nature. 


3 



4 ititL WAY OF ABIDING 


Source Verses 5 


p^q‘^aj-^q-^5jq-^q-q^ , ^| 

|^qq«q^^pq^‘q-*jj jg-qwql^’aj^q^-q^-^q^gi 
|^*^^q‘^'qq , ^W^*gq^q-aj| 


Within the womb of basic space as an infinite sky, 
however the universe manifests through transitions and changes 
in the four elements, 

these forms of emptiness are ineffable by nature, 
as are phenomena that are the manifest aspect of awakened mind. 
Just as illusory images, while manifesting in any way whatsoever, 
are empty by nature and have no substance, 
so all phenomena — the world of appearances and possibilities — 
even as they manifest 

do not waver from awakened mind and have no substance. 

Just as dreams do not stray from sleep 
and, even as they appear, are by nature ineffable, 
the world of appearances and possibilities, whether of samsara 
or nirvana, 

likewise does not waver from the scope of awakened mind 
and has no substance or characteristics. 

Although phenomena appear as they do to the mind, 
they are not mind, nor anything other than mind. 

Given their illusory nature as clearly apparent yet ineffable 
manifestations, 

moment by moment they are beyond description, imagination, 
or expression. 

For this reason, know that all phenomena that appear to the mind 
are ineffable even as they manifest. 

And so, just as apparent objects are ineffable by nature, 
the nature of awakened mind, which perceives them, 
is in essence ineffability, like that of space. 

Know this to be beyond description, imagination, or expression. 

In naturally occurring timeless awareness, the ultimate heart essence, 
there is no causality, so the abyss of samsara is crossed. 

There is no better or worse, so samsara and nirvana are 
an integrated mandala. 

There is no error or obscuration, so the three planes of conditioned 
existence are seen through incisively. 

Enlightenment — the nature of mind, like space — 

is not defined by any extreme or bias, for it is nondual by nature. 

So there is no view to be cultivated, no samaya to be upheld, 



o IHt WAY OF ABIDING 


Source Verses 7 


m * 0 ' ©V -V^CV ^ ^ 

|qa^-a^W^g^qpSk-q^-a^| jqw^^W^^garq^l 




no effort to be made in enlightened activity, nothing to obscure 
timeless awareness, 

no levels on which to train, no paths to be traversed, 
no subtle factors, no duality, no dependent relationship. 

Since value judgments are transcended, there is nothing spiritual 
or nonspiritual. 

This expanse, like the Isle of Gold in that it entails no differentiation 
or exclusion, 

is the naturally occurring nature of mind, like space, 
ineffable by nature and beyond all characterization and expression. 
Within the ultimate heart essence — awareness as such — 
there is nothing to improve upon, so positive actions bring no benefit. 
There is nothing to deteriorate, so negative actions inflict no injury. 
There is no karmic causality, so there is no happiness or suffering 
as its inevitable consequence. 

There is no better or worse, so there is no rejection of samsara 
or acceptance of nirvana. 

There is no way to think of or express this essence, so there is freedom 
from all such attempts. 

There is no before or after, so successive lifetimes are mere labels. 
How can anything be perpetuated? 

How can anyone move through samsara at all? 

What is karma? What are its inevitable consequences? 

Contemplate and examine the ultimate meaning, which is like space. 
Even though you investigate intelligently, contemplating and 
analyzing over and over, 

there is no fragment of substance — not even an atom can be found — 
and no division of time. 

With no dualistic perception, in that very moment there is abiding 
in the heart essence, 

ultimately meaningful and fundamentally unconditioned. 

Ineffable when examined — and by the same token ineffable when 
f not examined — 

phenomena in their multiplicity are always ineffable, 
since there is not the slightest frame of reference, even in terms 
of conventional labels. 

JCnow that by nature they have no substance, like illusions. 



8 The Way of Abiding 


Source Verses 9 


|^g^q^*^‘q§^q|-q-aq*gaj-aj| |^ , qa^*I^*^^^^ , q , qq , ^*q]^| 

lpSt-«jc»r§ r q^^ , 3SSiy'q^]*Sa^*Hi^-^^«j| |^ , q^q^q§^ , q , ^q|«rq^^| 

|§q]-^S^ar^srq«r^q]«rq^|^| 


Within the context of emptiness that is inherent in dreams 
and magical illusions, 

those who are unwise and immature are bound by fixation, 
but those who are conscious of the nature of these cannot be bound. 
Likewise, people who lack wisdom concerning ineffability 
are bound by fixation on identity and so are caught up in samsara, 
while wise people who are immersed in genuine being — 
aware of thatness and decisive in the very moment about 
ineffability — 

are free within the expanse, the nature of phenomena in which there is 
no causality. 

In the awakened nature of mind, which can be neither affirmed 
nor denied, 

timeless awareness without dualistic perception abides 
as a matter of course. 

In naked awareness, involving no causality, 

abides the unique sphere that is neither positive nor negative. 

In unobstructed awareness, without limit or center, 
the wholly positive enlightened intent of dharmakaya abides 
as a matter of course. 

In enlightenment — self-knowing awareness, the heart essence 
of ineffability — 

the totally pure and nonreferential intent of victorious ones 
is clearly evident. 

As the natural manifestations of awareness, ineffable phenomena 
arise as its unceasing display 
for those immersed in the genuine nature of illusoriness. 

They decide that these are ineffable even as they arise 
and do not react in the slightest with acceptance or rejection. 

They abide in supreme imperturbable rest, which is carefree 
with a deep inner spaciousness. 

The immature, fooled by what is ineffable, are like deer 
pursuing a mirage of water for which they thirst. 

Since they invest meaning in conventional labels — the language 
of confusion — 

they are hampered in their respective philosophies, misconstruing 
^phenomena as having identity. 


io The Way of Abiding 


|^^^q-a]^q^‘qlq-qa*r^| 

l^^qq^q-q^^^q’gaj-qq^i 

ig^-q^-cqaj-q^-q^^q^^'aii |^’q^*^^*q'S^qq*^*a3*^j| 

|^aj‘^^^*q^*q[|a]'q^| |^*^*q^q]^^q^*|q^qi,^| 

l^l-q^^q-m-^qa^qq-qR'l |^*S^q]^aj*q*s^qi,'g^*q6^| 


Source Verses ii 


Since the eight developmental approaches do not avoid the pitfall 
of ordinary mind, 

the genuine and ultimate heart essence is not seen. 

Atiyoga — basic space transcending phenomena, completely 
ineffable — is of the nature of space. 

Moment by moment, there is no wavering from dharmakaya, 
the natural place of rest. 

Throughout the vastness of original basic space, 

there is spontaneous presence in supremely blissful and natural rest. 

If you do not realize secret awareness — that which is ultimately 
meaningful in enlightened intent — 
you will never be freed by that which entails deliberate effort. 

Don’t you know that anything composite is impermanent and subject 
to disintegration? 

How can the tight and intricate knot of ordinary body, speech, 
and mind 

touch upon the ultimate meaning of the indestructible heart essence? 
This being so, if you desire what is sublimely meaningful — 
the way of abiding — 

put aside all factors that, like so many childish games, 
fetter and exhaust you physically, verbally, and mentally. 

The nature of ineffability, the expanse free of elaboration, 
is the nature of phenomena — natural great perfection. 

In expansiveness beyond imagination, in which nothing 
need be done, 

behold the ultimate meaning of supreme, uncontrived evenness. 

Since this is beyond causality and deliberate effort, be decisive. 
Self-knowing awareness, involving no perception of outer object 
and inner subject, 

has no time or place and is beyond phenomena that originate 
or cease. 

It is pure like space, and so entails no provisional spiritual approach. 
Since all thoughts of this as ultimately existent are mistaken, 
avoid any pitfall or obscuration that comes from misconstruing 
phenomena as having identity. 

In the indivisible and wholly positive realm, be decisive in supreme 
A and infinite emptiness. 



12 1 HE WAY OF ABIDING 


Source Verses 13 


ll^^q^-cqcq'q^-qq^^qg^-q^i 

|^c v ^^-iq-ga3-53^qq*|q*q : q^| iqjgai’q^q^^s^^^^qq^l 


Stand firm in the nature of phenomena, which is without transition 
or change. 

In the primordial realm of basic space that does not abide 
in any specific way, 

the superficial layers of view are cut through incisively, 
and the key point in its entirety is revealed to be ineffability. 

Thus, with the key point of ineffability having been revealed, 
one implication is that awareness — a state of imperturbable rest 
not cultivated in meditation — 
can be discerned in the absence of acceptance or rejection 
of whatever arises. 

The vast expanse is the integrated mandala of mind. 

Vajra basic space — the supremely blissful state of natural rest — 
is sublime meditative stability, spontaneously present without having 
to be cultivated. 

Always present, like the course of a great river, 
it is self-evident if there is uncontrived equipoise. 

The nature of phenomena, at rest just as it is, is similar to space. 

Since there is no transition or change, there is no question 
of whether or not there is distraction. 

The immensity of sublime basic space, which does not form 
and then disintegrate, 

is not within the range of finite experience that can be characterized 
by words. 

Those immersed in genuine being — for whom naturally arising 
awareness wells forth as the expanse of sublime knowing, 
whose minds are not pedantic even though they have heard many 
teachings, 

and who experience what is indescribable and beyond imagination — 
decide that this is not a matter of anything being characterized or not. 
Since neither meditation nor anything on which to meditate 
can be found, 

there is no need to slay the foes of lethargy and agitation. 

Since the heart essence is ineffability (the timeless freedom of apparent 
phenomena and mind), 

the expanse of evenness (the nature of phenomena in which confusion 
settles out naturally) 


i4 The Way of Abiding 


Source Verses 15 




|g , aj»r|5r5j^^c;*d)'^«rqq|^ 

|gq'^q*aj'gq-^q^*qq-q^£!|^‘q^^| 


abides uninterruptedly in the realm of dharmakaya. 

There is no division between things arising and being free; 

they converge in a single blissful expanse. 

In arising, they arise naturally, holding to their own place. 

In abiding, they abide naturally, holding to their own place. 

In being freed, they are freed naturally, holding to their own place. 
Everything is naturally free, arising from the expanse of the nature 
of phenomena, 

and thus does not stray elsewhere, being simply the display 
of dharmakaya. 

Apparent phenomena, naturally manifest and experienced 
unconditionally, are the natural expressions of emptiness. 

They abide in the ultimate heart essence, being neither positive 
nor negative. 

Whatever appears and whatever arises, 
all things that proliferate and abide as dynamic expressions 
of awareness — 

such as the five emotional poisons — 
no matter how they arise, even as they do so 
there is recognition, perfection of their dynamic energy, and their 
natural fading, leaving no trace. 

One implication is that equipoise constitutes a state of imperturbable 
rest in the “interval” between objects and mind. 

Another implication is that, like a bird in flight, naturally occurring 
timeless awareness leaves no trace. 

Another implication is that everything is of one basic space, 
like waves on water. 

Phenomena are forever discerned within the context of the 
supreme secret, 

and so it is in the nature of things that freedom comes about simply 
through an understanding of this key point. 

At any point, within the vast expanse of enlightened intent — 
t self-knowing awareness — 

phenomena, without being better or worse, arise equally, 
abide equally, and are freed equally. 

Since there is no phenomenon that is unequal, nonabiding, 

^ and not freed, 



1 6 The Way of Abiding 


Source Verses 17 


|q|qq'q^q-^-^*qg^^aj’|q‘q^| |^•^ < q^^•S^^^R•qq•qq•| 

|Wq-S^5rg-^-q^s)^^| |^q*^'^*q^'fqj^q*|q^'S^| 

iqai-qq^'aj-cqq^aj-cqq-qq^qj ||^j'q^'q^-[qq*q5*^q|^*qq‘^J| 

|^*^ , ^ , y^q , qq^a3*qgq*q^| ]^qg^*|^*q*5q*q§'Iij*^^^| 

|^ , q^q]*»|aj-^^ajsj*^aq|*q^^| |^q*^-^q^-q*^-ajflM-q^-qq^| 

|g^’5i^*^'^pq*iq^*^^|q'qq‘g| j^-q^'q^^^-q^-qq-qiiai^q'^iii 


another implication that can be discerned is that enlightenment 
is a spacious and timeless expanse. 

From awareness, uncreated and spontaneously present, 
arises enlightened intent, a natural state of rest that is effortless 
and spacious. 

Awakened mind, beyond any causes and effects, whether positive 
or negative, 

is discerned within the realm of the unchanging nature 
of phenomena. 

Spacious enlightened intent, whose very nature is ineffable, 
embraces all phenomena without exception within its scope. 

Just as the universe is subsumed within the compass of space, 
so phenomena, naturally manifest, are subsumed within supreme 
and timeless emptiness. 

Samsara is just a label: cause and effect, effort and achievement, 
are transcended. 

There are no positive or negative actions that benefit or harm — 
the context of emptiness. 

Liberation is just a label: nirvana does not exist. 

There is nothing to be sought or achieved through the ten attributes. 
Striving again and again after phenomena that are exhausting 
is like a child making sand castles, for these things are subject 
to destruction. 

Further, everything entailing effort — all that involves cause and effect, 
virtue and harm — 

is timelessly embraced within the larger scope of ineffability. 

Now, those who are immersed in the genuine heart essence of ati — 
having decided that all teachings on causality, which are designed 
to guide the immature, 

are paths for the less fortunate who progress upward in stages — 
embrace the enlightened intent that is the very essence, the ultimate 
meaning that transcends phenomena, 
within the larger scope of space, in which nothing need be done. 
Deliberate action misleads — look at the confusing appearances 
of samsara. 

Effort corrupts — think about the machinations of suffering. 

.With virtue and harm, there is an uninterrupted flow of happiness and 
suffering. 



18 The Way of Abiding 


|I«I , ^-^-53^5J|qq-^-«I«l^«3-qs v | j^•qq•5q^•I«r^•q%qsrq•u^| 

|^q - q^-^^-q«j-aJ^’qq - ^I-ajs]-q^sij j^q-^q-W-qqjqp-^-qq-S^-a^q^ij 
|«J^'S^‘^'qsi'q]^I ,, Tjq-^ , a!SJ , q^5J| |qj^*j-^SI-si^-qsi-qj^I-^-*5J-a]SI-q^| 

|^*iir^-«ij!f^«r^eraj| ^^•si^ci^-f|«i-q^si5j| 


Source Verses 19 


Karma is reinforced, causing one to wander high and low 
through samsara. 

There is no opportunity to escape the ocean of conditioned existence. 
When the flow of virtue and nonvirtue is interrupted, 
if there is no union with and then separation from the nature 
of phenomena, 

there is immersion in genuine being as the definitive 
and supreme secret. 

One effortlessly reaches the primordial level of being, 
having gained the majestic palace of dharmakaya — timeless rest. 
Therefore, all things that are reified by the designation of names 
and meanings, 

as well as reactions based on distinctions of better or worse, 
and deliberate efforts involving causality — 
even as all these phenomena manifest, they are ineffable phenomena, 
like space, in which nothing need be done. 

For whoever understands this, all phenomena are embraced within 
the larger scope of ineffability. 

The decisive experience of ineffability is the ultimate heart essence. 
Since all phenomena of the world of appearances and possibilities, 
whether of samsara or nirvana, 
are ineffable by nature, they are beyond existence. 

Since the way in which they manifest is unceasing, they are 
beyond nonexistence. 

Since they are neither existent nor nonexistent, they are 
beyond being both. 

Since there is no such duality, they are beyond being neither. 

Since they neither “are” nor “are not,” the ultimate heart essence 
cannot be characterized as some “thing,” for it transcends all 
imagination and expression. 

Although the nature of phenomena is primordially pure, 
immature people — unaware that what is ultimately meaningful has 
pothing to do with acceptance or rejection — 
are attached to their own views and so are continuously imprisoned. 
How emotionally afflicted they are — their ideas reify 
the characteristics of things. 

Hpw confused they are to misconstrue what is ineffable 
as having identity. 


zo The Way of Abiding 


Source Verses 21 






How wearisome it is to reify extremes though none exist. 

How worthy of compassion are those who wander forever 
in samsara. 

The sun of ultimate reality, naturally occurring awareness, 
is obscured by the clouds of both virtue and harm, positive 
and negative, 

and obstructed by the lightning of obsessive efforts to accept or reject. 
With the continuous downpour of confused perceptions of happiness 
and suffering, 

the seeds of samsara ripen into the crops of the six kinds of beings. 
Alas! How worthy of compassion are beings tormented in these 
six states. 

From the consummate and ultimate perspective of the definitive 
heart essence, 

chains of gold and ropes are equally binding. 

Likewise, the spiritual and nonspiritual bind the mind equally. 

Just as light and dark clouds are equally obstructing, 
positive and negative actions equally obscure awareness. 

Therefore, it is crucial that one immersed in genuine being — 
who has realized this to be so — 
transcend all causes and effects, whether positive or negative. 
Naturally occurring timeless awareness arises from within, 
the dark night of causality is cleared away, 
and the massing clouds of virtue and harm do not amount 
to anything whatsoever — 

the sun of ultimate reality shines in the sky of the basic space 
of phenomena. 

This is the decisive experience in the ultimate sense. 

The definitive conclusion is reached by virtue of the ineffable nature 
of the ten attributes. X 

This is superior to all spiritual approaches based on either causes 
or results. 

Nonmanifest meditative absorption is beyond the range 
of meditation. 

This self-knowing awareness as such, free of elaboration, 
is the decisive experience of the complete resolution of phenomena, 
phenomena are resolved in it; it, moreover, finds its resolution 
in phenomena. 



zz The Way of Abiding 


Source Verses Z3 




l^a^sj-er^lwqjlqj-jgir^-q^-siagswr^l |^q] - a,t^'0ai-q-^-^-^ , ^ai , sj^sj| 






Since this decisive experience has nothing to do with whether or not 
there is such resolution, 

it is decidedly beyond characterization and expression in terms 
of existence or nonexistence. 

There is no specific reference point, but rather a supremely spacious 
and panoramic state. 

Phenomena are resolved, ordinary consciousness is transcended. 

How joyful is one immersed in genuine being! 

This very state — immersion in genuine being in the past, present, 
and future — 

is the single basic space of enlightened intent, the uninterrupted 
nature of phenomena. 

Masters of awareness share a dimension of experience equal to that of 
all victorious ones. 

The noncomposite expanse — unchanging and indivisible. 

The expanse of naturally occurring timeless awareness — 
beyond effort and achievement. 

The expanse in which all phenomena are mere names — 
beyond imagination and expression. 

Within this wholly positive realm, in which nothing need be done, 

regardless of what manifests there is still wholly positive basic space. 

In this basic space of Samantabhadra, apparent phenomena 
and emptiness are not better or worse. 

When the ineffable is taken as existent, labeling occurs out of 
confusion, 

yet even while there is labeling, there is no confusion or its opposite. 

One comes to a decisive experience of phenomena being completely 
unnameable: 

this is the way of abiding that is natural great perfection. 

Thus, concerning the phenomena of the world of appearances 
and possibilities, whether of samsara or nirvana, 

with the decision that there is no question of there being confusion 
pr not, 

nirvana is not something to be achieved by renouncing samsara. 

With the decision that there is no question of things being born 
or not, 

ope transcends objects conceived of as being born or ceasing, 
as existent or not. 



24 The Way of Abiding 


Source Verses 25 




q^ST^qr? || 


|gaj'qq’qq*q^*q]^*aj^qq’q^| 

ja^-qq'^q-^-^-yur^q-ajq-j 

l^’qq^'q^^qaq'^q^-qq-a^l |q^-^^-^^-q*i^qq^q*q^‘^j 
|^ai-»aq^^-S-^|)qprq^»r^gaj| |g^q•qq•^q•q^ , q^•^^S^qi,’2J]^| 

|^ , g'*^qij*^^5j^ , qq , y^ai'a]^*q^| |^q‘q^ # g^aj^^^pqq*^a3*cqq^^| 

]^q^qq^q^|aj^-q^-q^^| 
|^'aj^'^'^'gq*q^*^-^iT|^*q^| |^‘gaj-CMq^*q , S^qi v *gaj*^^| 


With the decision that there is no question of whether there is purity 
or impurity, 

there is equilibrium — nothing better or worse, no acceptance 
or rejection. 

One has come to a decisive experience of all phenomena within the 
wholly positive expanse. 

From The Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding, this is the first 
topic, reaching the definitive conclusion concerning the utter inex- 
pressibility of all phenomena. 

Having come to a thorough understanding of the way of abiding 
as ineffability, 

one reaches the definitive conclusion that its nature is openness. 

The transmission of atiyoga, the very pinnacle of all spiritual 
approaches, is like space, without limit or center. 

The greatest of the great is the spacious mind of Samantabhadra, 
its nature a supreme and uninterrupted evenness. 

Since manifest phenomena — the world of appearances 
and possibilities — and nonmanifest awakened mind 
do not waver from what simply is, unembellished, 
there is freedom from concepts, with no framework of limit or center. 
The nature of openness abides, supreme and uninterrupted. 

Even as they appear, all phenomena that manifest as objects 
have no aspects or substance, and so there is expansive openness. 
Moreover, mind — self-knowing awareness — is not divisible 
into earlier and later 

and so, just as it is, constitutes an expansive openness, like space. 

With the past having ceased, the future yet to come, 
and no remaining in the present, the scope of awakened mind 
has no foundation or substance and transcends being an object 
that can be characterized. 

Natural openness is the infinite dimension of space. 

In the ultimate heart essence, with no extreme or bias, 
there is no framework of view, empowerment, mandala, mantra 
repetition, levels, paths, samaya, training, or progress. 

Rather, there is expansive openness in supreme spaciousness that is 
/ free of any basis. 


26 1 HE WAY OF ABIDING 



Source Verses 27 


This is fulfilled within awakened mind, the nature of phenomena. 
All phenomena, however they manifest, 
are sacred in being unborn by their very nature, 
and so are spontaneously present— unceasing and not abiding 
in any specific way. 

Since there is total purity, free of any framework of existence 
or nonexistence, 

the nature of phenomena is expansive openness, great perfection. 

In awareness, the ultimate heart essence of enlightenment, 
there is no holding to extreme views, but rather freedom from bias 
based on characteristics. 

There is no conclusion to be reached through theories of language 
or knowledge. 

It is beyond characterization, can be neither affirmed nor denied, 
neither increases nor decreases, and neither comes nor goes. 

Given total purity in the supreme spaciousness of spontaneous 
evenness, 

there is uninterrupted openness, free of all extremes or bias. 

In enlightened intent there is no occurrence of or involvement 
with hope or fear, 

and so there is uninterrupted openness, regardless of what arises. 

In this naturally arising, unbiased, and unrestricted state — 
what simply is — 

there is never a chance of being caught within the cage of reification. 

Since all things come back to openness, 

their nature is beyond the extreme of denial or affirmation. 

Just as the universe will disappear within the realm of space, 
denial and affirmation, attachment and aversion, vanish 
in original basic space. 

Since they do not go anywhere, thought patterns leave no trace. 
Given expansive openness within the scope of uninterrupted 
awareness, 

the, limitations of holding to hope and fear are transcended. 

The tethering stake of dualistic mind is pulled free. 

The city of the confusing perceptions of samsara is emptied. 
Therefore, the dynamic energy of display is external— 
s phenomena that manifest as objects — 



2.8 The Way of Abiding 


Source Verses Z9 






and internal — the manner in which one’s mind arises. 

For those who understand everything to be timelessly empty 
and open, 

all phenomena are revealed within the key point of openness. 
Concerning the facets of the nature of phenomena, one implication 
that can be discerned 

is that they constitute self-knowing timeless awareness as openness, 
empty yet lucid. 

Not constrained by being perceived as a subject, beyond being 
perceived as an object, 

and without any point of reference, wide-open clarity is unrestricted. 
Enlightened intent — undistracted, for all recollection has been 
exhausted — 

is expansive openness like space, neither meditation 
nor nonmeditation. 

This is the vast expanse of enlightened intent, wholly positive. 

In this spacious and vast expanse of awareness, empty yet lucid, 
although an unceasing variety of characteristics arises, 
the sense faculties perceive this in all its freshness. 

Awareness is clearly evident as the nature of phenomena. 

Things appear freely, consciousness is blissful, however it arises, 
and the six modes of consciousness are relaxed — this is the naturally 
arising expanse of timeless awareness. 

Since this is utterly lucid — unobstructed, without division into outer 
or inner — 

it is spontaneously present within the supreme, uncontrived state 
of resting in genuine being. 

Like an easygoing person who has nothing more to do, 
body and mind rest in whatever way is comfortable, without tension 
or looseness. 

Awareness is an expansive openness, like the clear sky, 
abiding within the realm of the basic space of phenomena, 
not uniting with and then separating from it. 

In the skylike realization of the nature of phenomena, 
empty yet lucid, 

there is unfettered awareness — uninterrupted and expansive 
^ openness— 



30 The Way of Abiding 


jS^q-^3qj-gq-^q-^^-cq-| |q|^sj-^si-a^ , cj^ - Isi , ^ - 5jac,'q , «jq]»i| 

^q-«}»j«j-gai-q-^q-q-q^ujq«rq| 

It^ai-^sisrq^-q-sjqsi'q^sj-sipq-ajj |5^qwlar^garq§-^jyq^j 

C\ C\ C\ -S *v«-’ Ov •V* *’ 

|ga4-q-^c;-q^wsw5j-q«wq^| 


Source Verses 31 


unbound by reification, transcending all thought and recollection. 
Everything is complete openness, encompassed within the single 
expanse of enlightened intent. 

A blissful mind blends with the blissful ground of being — 
the realm of awakened mind, in which outer and inner are 
of one taste. 

This is to perceive the way of abiding, the nature in which 
phenomena are resolved. 

At the very moment that ideas form about sense impressions, 
natural mind remains open, with perception blissful 
and spacious. 

The major implication that can be discerned is that 
uninterrupted openness 

is naturally radiant and naturally lucid, unconstrained 
by reification. 

In the spacious sky in which the reification of objects and mind 
is cleared away, 

awareness, free of the turmoil of thought, 
is embraced within the scope of naturally unsullied openness: 
the “vajra dance” is the unrestricted and uninterrupted nature 
of phenomena. 

Timeless awareness, equal to the basic space of suchness, 
is the timeless application of the natural seal of wholly positive 
enlightened intent. 

Just as myriad dreams are subsumed within sleep, 
being natural manifestations that are empty and without true 
existence, 

so too the phenomena of the universe, whether of samsara 
or nirvana, are embraced by mind. 

They manifest within mind, the vast expanse, but have no substance. 
Just as the entire vast universe has no limit or center 
in the expanse of space, but is uninterrupted openness, 
so* within the expanse of awareness, all that manifests outwardly 
or inwardly — objects or mind — 

is subsumed within openness and is naturally manifest and empty. 
This is the larger scope of awakened mind that embraces 
✓ all phenomena. 



32, The Way of Abiding 


Source Verses 33 


||z^^*gcq^^3'q*g^'qq^^q-aj| 

iq^^-S-w^S^^’gajwqS^I 

iq^S^g^q^S^^qlw^gi |gaj-q^-aj-q^^^^-2r^| 
|cqa3^wt'q^*^^q^S;^-q*cMR*| 


Openness is revealed to be unbiased, free of dualistic perception. 

This awakened mind that embraces all phenomena, moreover, 
is without extreme or bias and is subsumed within supreme openness. 
It is like infinite space that embraces the universe, 
without limit or center, beyond all imagination or description. 

In awareness, a supreme evenness free of extremes, 
phenomena — the world of appearances and possibilities, whether 
of samsara or nirvana — arise ceaselessly. 

Even as they arise, neither mind nor phenomena can be characterized 
as “things.” 

They are embraced within openness, the nature of phenomena. 

The seal of awakened mind, beyond which no one goes, 
is timelessly applied through supreme and wholly positive 
spaciousness, 

is embraced by the enlightened intent of the guru, protector of beings 
and spiritual master, 

and is itself sealed as the ever-awakened state, the vajra heart essence. 
This definitive meaning of the supreme secret is not within the reach 
of anyone who is not of the highest intelligence and good fortune. 

The theme of the vajra pinnacle is that there is no transition 
or change. 

Although this vast expanse of enlightened intent — utterly lucid, 
self-knowing awareness — 
is within oneself, it is difficult to always realize this. 

It is seen through the grace of the guru, glorious protector 
and spiritual master. 

It is termed “all phenomena embraced within uninterrupted 
openness.” 

The decisive experience of openness is the ultimate heart essence. 
Outer phenomena are unborn, the scope of emptiness. 

They are beyond characterization or expression, since they do not 
abide in any specific way and neither come nor go. 

TJiere is no division between inner phenomena arising and being free. 
They are like the traces of a bird in the sky — no frame of reference 
applies. 

Objects and mind, just as they are — and even naturally occurring 
/ awareness — 



34 The Way of Abiding 


jqwgarq|3^5j^qq-*,q-q^3^! 

|g : ga!'|qj^-q'l^-q'A'aj'q|?f| 

q]3jsrq^Arqaj| 


|j^3^-^'§^q-q^^-q(^i 

j^Sj-Sjp^-qq-W^q-l^q-q-^^l 


jqrni'q^rsii'^'^qq’q^'^'SrA'^qj 

|gq'^q-^5jsj-ajS!-q^s,-q^SI-SS-qq]q]iM'^| 


,^-^W^TOS-l jqjSqj-^W^garq^w4^^| 



Source Verses 35 


are mere labels and beyond characterization or expression. 

They are free of elaboration. 

Since, as with space, there is no creator, this is the realm of emptiness, 
involving no effort or achievement, 
beyond good or bad, positive or negative, and beyond causality. 

The ten attributes do not apply. 

Completely spacious openness, the expanse free of characterization or 
expression, 

is timelessly empty, with no question of its being a phenomenon 
or not. 

It does not partake of existence. 

In great perfection, free of ordinary consciousness, 
one comes to a decisive experience of the inconceivable 
and inexpressible nature. 

From The Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding, this is the second 
topic, reaching the definitive conclusion concerning the supreme and 
uninterrupted openness of all phenomena. 

Furthermore, the nature of spontaneous presence 
is not created by anyone, for it abides timelessly. 

Like a gem that provides everything, awakened mind 
serves as the ground that is the source of all phenomena of samsara 
and nirvana. 

Just as the world of appearances and possibilities manifests 
from the realm of space, 

samsara and nirvana arise ceaselessly from awakened mind. 

Just as various dreams occur during sleep, 

the six kinds of beings and the three realms arise within the context 
of ordinary mind. 

Even as they arise, all phenomena constitute the scope of awareness. 
They are the supreme manifestation of the ground of being — 
empty yet spontaneously present. 

Moreover, the ground of being and the mode by which it arises 
as apparent phenomena 

are by nature beyond being identical or separate 
and are timelessly and spontaneously present, arising through 
/ the avenue of awareness. 



3 6 The Way of Abiding 


Source Verses 37 


^arq'^rj^W^^ 

|^^q-afq^'|^|a3^q<a3*q^| |^aj-q'^aj^^^q^‘q]^-2T| 


As the dynamic energy of its display, the two modes — samsara 
and nirvana — manifest distinctly as impure and pure, 
yet even in manifesting neither is better or worse, for they are of one 
basic space. 

When lights of five colors shine without obstruction from a crystal, 
these lights are perceived as distinct colors, yet none is better 
or worse. 

They are the dynamic energy of a single crystal sphere. 

Self-knowing awareness, the ground of being, is similar to that 
crystal sphere: 

its emptiness is the nature of dharmakaya, 
its naturally radiant lucidity is sambhogakaya, 
and its unceasing avenue as the ground for arising is nirmanakaya. 
The three kayas are spontaneously present in basic space as the 
ground of being. 

From that ground, its manifestation arises as apparent phenomena, 
and even as it does there are the three pure kayas, manifesting 
naturally to victorious ones, 
and all the impure appearances of the universe. 

Its very essence is threefold — emptiness, lucidity, and diversity — 
the display of dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, and nirmanakaya. 

These three kayas — the dynamic display of the ground of being 
as it manifests — 

are naturally manifest and spontaneously present, not to be sought 
elsewhere. 

Having come to thoroughly understand these distinctions, 
you should realize that, within the realm of awakened mind, 
the phenomena of samsara and nirvana are the spontaneously present 
pure realm of the three kayas. 

The kayas and timeless awareness of buddhas throughout 
the three times, 

the body, speech, and mind of beings in the three realms, 
karma and afflictive emotions — 

* 

of all these phenomena of the world of appearances and possibilities, 
none is anything other than awakened mind. 

Within the expanse of spontaneous presence is the ground 
y from which everything comes. 



38 The Way of Abiding 


Source Verses 39 


||*q^*q‘aj^*|q^*^*q^| |cq-q^^q^^^q*S^^| 


All that manifests as form — the outer environment and the beings 
within it — 

is enlightened form that is not defined by extremes, arising 
as continuous adornment. 

Sounds and voices, whether heard as excellent, average, or inferior, 
are enlightened speech that is not defined by extremes, arising 
as continuous adornment. 

All timeless awareness and ordinary mind, all realization and lack 
of realization, 

are enlightened mind that is not defined by extremes, arising 
as continuous adornment. 

Since positive qualities and enlightened activity occur without being 
defined by extremes, 

the basic space of phenomena is a precious gem that fulfills all wishes. 
Without having to be sought, everything occurs naturally. 

This is “naturally occurring timeless awareness, spontaneously 
present.” 

The spontaneously present ground of myriad phenomena 
is awakened mind, which is always spontaneously present, 
so the three kayas, unsought, are innately present as natural qualities. 
Since effort — which creates causes and effects, whether positive 
or negative — is unnecessary, 

immerse yourself in genuine being, resting naturally with nothing 
needing to be done. 

The expanse of spontaneous presence entails no deliberate effort, 
no acceptance or rejection. 

From now on make no effort, since phenomena already are what 
they are. 

Even the enlightenment of all victorious ones of the three times 
is spontaneously present as a supremely blissful state of natural rest. 
So, without depending on teachings of causality that are for less 
fortunate ones, 

look to the nature that is like space, in which nothing need be done. 
Given what is, there is no need to create anything further. 

So, in supreme spontaneous presence, uncontrived as it has 
always been, 

cut th/ough all occurrence of and involvement with the hope and fear 
of ordinary mind 



40 1 he Way of Abiding 


Source Verses 41 


|2^^q^g^|’»'q3«rq|«jsq 

|^A-^'q-^-^-^-qk‘q]^N 1 p^Ssj'^sjsrgc^q^si^r^^’i 


and gain knowledge in basic space, spontaneous presence that need 
not be sought. 

All phenomena, however they manifest, 

are the display of dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, and nirmanakaya — 
the three uncontrived aspects of essence, nature, and responsiveness. 
Samsara and nirvana are the three kayas, the expanse 
of awakened mind, 

spontaneously present in uncontrived supreme evenness, 
and so samsara is not to be renounced, nor is nirvana to be achieved. 
With the pacification of all value judgments, there is abiding 
in the ultimate heart essence. 

This reveals all phenomena within the key point, 
the realm of awakened mind, timelessly and spontaneously present. 
Phenomena are discerned within the context of spontaneous 
presence. 

The five great elements and all apparent phenomena of the universe 
arise timelessly as the expression of nonconceptual spontaneous 
presence. 

Involving no concept of self or other and pure in their natural 
vividness, 

they are discerned within the context of natural mind, free of 
deliberate effort. 

Do not suppress objects that manifest. 

Rest with the six modes of consciousness relaxed. 

Awareness, the origin of everything, is spontaneously present 
with a lucid radiance. 

One implication of the five senses being uncontrived, without the 
coming and going of thoughts, 

is that spontaneous presence as enlightened intent is dharmakaya, 
the simultaneity of awareness and emptiness. 

Recognize this, be decisive, and rest free of elaboration. 

In the pure vast expanse of self-knowing awareness, 
free of restriction, 

one implication of the uninterrupted evenness of everything that 
manifests, whether objects or mind, 
can be discerned within the “interval” of spontaneous presence — 

/ natural meditative stability. 



42. The Way of Abiding 


^•q-^-^q-a^q-s^avSw^j jE , q^^'§ai‘ 1 3S’^3^.«rer^'^»rq«I| 

^pi/q^^rg^^rs^'S'arq^'^'^q^q'i 

|q^*^q-if§£; , ^'T«)»WW^«J| jAq'q^'^'dS^'SJ'l^l'^'^'^l 


Source Verses 43 


At all times, like the course of a great river, 

timeless awareness — not cultivated in meditation, but spontaneously 
present — is uninterrupted. 

The heart essence of all phenomena, the primordial expanse that 
occurs naturally, 

reaches full measure as ultimate enlightened intent, wholly positive. 

The source of phenomena is awakened mind; 

awakened mind is similar to space, the universal metaphor. 

Everything is contained within the expanse of space and is pure 
by nature, 

without this entailing effort or achievement. 

Similarly, all outer and inner phenomena, being spontaneously 
present, 

are discerned within the context of the supreme state 
of imperturbable rest in the face of whatever manifests, 
which is beyond all objects of the imagination and does not require 
that anything be done. 

Completely encompassing the enlightened intent of victorious ones 
just as it is — 

not coming into being or ceasing, not coming or going, 
and so forth — 

spontaneous presence is pure and unwavering meditative absorption. 
All phenomena are discerned within the context of nothing needing to 
be done. 

All phenomena are embraced within the larger scope of spontaneous 
presence. 

The entire world of appearances and possibilities is naturally manifest 
and spontaneously present, 

all samsara and nirvana is spontaneously present as the display, 
and awakened mind is timelessly and spontaneously present, 
so all phenomena are nothing other than spontaneous presence. 
Because the nature of mind is spontaneously present, 
the fundamental ground, the heart essence, is encompassed within 
awakened mind. 

Unsought through the ten attributes, it is spontaneously present, 
so there is no need to try to develop view, meditation, or meditative 
absorption, 



44 1HE WAY OF ABIDING 


Source Verses 45 












]^qy&q]q*^*^q*q*!| 


no need to accomplish anything else through the usual process 
of causality, 

no need for the turmoil of hope and fear to arise. 

The immediacy of spontaneous presence truly is primordial 
dharmakaya. 

In the vast expanse of the nature of mind, the unchanging realm 
of space, 

although samsara and nirvana arise naturally from the expanse 
of the three kayas, 

they never waver from the expanse of the three kayas. 

The display is indeterminate — a treasury of the magical expression 
of responsiveness. 

Since everything arises as a single state of wholly positive spontaneous 
presence, 

there is mastery over samsara and nirvana, for nothing wavers 
in the slightest from basic space. 

Since everything is wholly positive — there is nothing that is not 
positive — 

the basic space of the vajra heart essence is the spontaneous presence 
of everything. 

All phenomena are forever embraced within the larger scope 
of spontaneous presence. 

The decisive experience is, by its nature, that of spontaneous 
presence. 

Within that spontaneous presence, which has no specific nature 
and cannot be divided into outer or inner, 
all phenomena manifest naturally, are neither confirmed nor refuted, 
neither come nor go. 

The infinite expanse has no division into above or below. 

It is thoroughly indeterminate and completely unrestricted. 

It cannot be characterized as some “ thing,” for it is inexpressible 
and beyond imagining. 

Because phenomena are originally pure in essence 
and spontaneously present by their very nature, 
they are free of the limitations of the four alternatives — 
existence, nonexistence, affirmation, or denial. 

This is the nature of nondual awakened mind. 



4 6 The Way of Abiding 


Source Verses 47 


^•q^-si-^-Isj-^-ai-q^-^i l^’^ q ^' a ^' q ^'^'^ s ' a5r ^ Sr §l 

l|^^'^T 25 Til w ^’^’ i ^^* , l ^'^■ q l q '^ q '^ Q5 '5^ c '' q ‘^ 3 \l 


Original purity in its essence has never existed as anything; 
rather, its nature, like that of space, is primordially pure. 

Spontaneous presence in its essence has not been created by anyone; 
rather, its mode of arising is unceasing, so that anything whatsoever 
can manifest. 

The origin of all samsara and nirvana is atemporal, with no beginning 
or end. 

Spontaneous presence, unborn and indeterminate, is the ultimate 
ground of being. 

The way things arise, without beginning or end, cannot be 
suppressed. 

The way things are, without beginning or end, has no frame 
of reference. 

The way things are freed, ineffable by nature, is uninterrupted. 
Following the point at which things arise, one comes to 
a decisive experience. 

This is known as “dissolution into dharmakaya — resolution 
within the ground of being as basic space.” 

Just as clouds occurring in the sky dissolve therein 
and the light from a crystal disappears into the crystal, 
so all of samsara and nirvana — the manifestation of the ground 
of being that arises from that ground — 
holds to its own place of original purity within the essence, 
the ground of being. 

The supreme decisive experience concerning all phenomena 
is that they are encompassed within basic space — 
spontaneous presence as the natural place of rest. 

All elaborations dissolve naturally in the nonconceptual expanse. 
With the dissolution of the six modes of consciousness within their 
natural place of rest, dharmakaya, 
whatever appears at present — all that manifests as objects — 
is a single evenness outwardly and inwardly, experienced decisively 
within the basic space of spontaneous presence. 

One comes to the ultimate decisive experience of everything — 
whether of samsara or nirvana, whether naturally manifest 
or even nonmanifest — 

within the fully awakened state of enlightenment. 



48 1 he Way of Abiding 


^•£3^q^arq^q^qj^r^r§] 

l^^wsraj^^wsr^-^i i^jq-aq-^-aw-g^-q^q-^srS^j 


Source Verses 49 


In the same way, one comes to the moment-by-moment decisive 
experience of what is innately pristine, empty yet lucid, 
by letting the busyness of apparent phenomena and mind rest 
naturally in the lucid expanse, 
so that there is utter relaxation, nonconceptual and free of 
elaboration. 

This is “abiding firmly within the precious enclosure.” 

If you do not come to a decisive experience now in basic space, 
the natural place of rest, 

freedom in the original ground of being will not come about 
in the future. 

Rigid meditative stability, with no freedom in the ground of being 
as basic space, 

affords no chance to attain liberation, only rebirth as a god 
in a higher realm. 

Thus, it is crucial to come to a decisive experience — 
an instantaneous and naturally abiding meditative absorption — 
within inner basic space, now and in the future. 

One comes to a decisive experience of all possible phenomena 
in the spontaneous presence of awareness. 

One comes to a decisive experience of spontaneous presence 
in its natural place of rest, supreme original purity. 

One comes to a decisive experience of original purity — inconceivable, 
unimaginable, and inexpressible. 

This is the decisive experience of spontaneous presence. 

From The Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding, this is the third 
topic, reaching the definitive conclusion concerning the timeless and 
spontaneous presence of all phenomena. 

Next, the nature of oneness is revealed. 

Awareness — oneness — is the ground of all phenomena. 

Although there is the appearance of multiplicity, to say that there is 
no wavering from oneness 

is to say that naturally occurring timeless awareness is 
the single source. 

Although fire and water manifest separately 
from a single gem under specific circumstances, 



50 Ihe Way of Abiding 


Source Verses 51 


<?V Cv Cv CS.CV C\ v" *s c\ 






jq^^q*^q|-q5 , wai^q|a&‘q-S^| 








their source — the pure gem — is the same. 

Similarly, although both samsara and nirvana arise from oneness, 
self-knowing awareness, 

their source — ultimate awakened mind — is the same. 

There is simply the illusion of difference based on whether 
or not awareness is recognized. 

All things that appear in light of awareness — 
the world of appearances and possibilities, whether of samsara 
or nirvana — 

even as they manifest are one in emptiness, their very essence. 

Like dream images, illusions, or the moon’s reflection on water, 
like awareness in the four visions, and like surrounding space that 
has no substance, 

they are one in being timelessly and totally empty, free of 
elaboration. 

Since everything is of one basic space, primordially pure, 
there is no abiding as “two,” for all is encompassed within 
the single sphere. 

Dharmakaya is without edges or corners. How marvelous! 

Although the five elements manifest, they are the realm 
of awakened mind. 

Never born, they do not waver from the single state of equalness. 
Although manifesting in conditioned existence, the six kinds 
of beings are forms of emptiness. 

The ground of being as it manifests does not waver from the scope 
of awareness. 

Although happiness and suffering manifest, they are within the heart 
essence of enlightenment, 

not wavering from a single, naturally occurring timeless awareness. 
Therefore, phenomena are of one basic space — the realm 
of emptiness. 

You should know them to be unborn awakened mind. 

The unique enlightened intent of victorious ones of the three times 
dwells within this ultimate basic space, the vast expanse 
of self-knowing awareness. 

It cannot be thought of as multiple, for it is free of fragmenting 
elaborations. 



)Z, mt WAY Ut ABIDING 


SOURCE VERSES 53 






|^3^!•5^pq•q^•^•g•| r aI•q^•qs,•q|^| 


|£|5j«i-5^-f;|q-qq-|q-2fgq-*q-ai| 

|q|^-?4-5J^-qq]Z,^-q|^-«'(qq-| |«IC l si-^'5jS!*r6^ , ^C,'§^'^-q^-q|«iaj| 


Truly it is the palace of the unwavering heart essence 
of enlightenment, 

where nothing but naturally occurring timeless awareness dwells. 

The precious treasury of phenomena is a gem that fulfills all wishes. 

This is truly the pure realm of victorious ones, the three 
spontaneously present kayas. 

The unique vast expanse is not created by anyone. 

All things that emerge from it — all possible phenomena without 
exception — 

are one within the fundamental ground from which they emerge, since 
causality is negated. 

Suchness itself, empty yet lucid, is the supremely spacious nature 
of phenomena, 

evident as pure space without extremes or biases. 

Although the single naturally occurring state creates all samsara 
and nirvana, 

without anyone creating awareness, which is the source, 

it abides like space, beyond deliberate effort. 

With this metaphor and its underlying meaning in harmony, 
all value judgments concerning diverse phenomena 

are pacified within the vast expanse of a single basic space. 

Within the ultimate heart essence, which transcends existence 
and nonexistence, 

all phenomena are unceasing, and regardless of the display that arises 

their very essence is the unimaginable and inexpressible expanse. 

This is truly beyond all conventional expression and description. 

From the standpoint of enlightenment, the heart essence from which 
everything arises, 

there is no duality, and any attempt to quantify things would be 
endless. 

Buddhas, ordinary beings, and the universe of appearances 
and possibilities are evident, 

yet do not waver from the single nature of phenomena, just as it is. 

Everything is connected in oneness — the perfection of phenomena. 

This is the supreme quality of awakened mind. 

When anything manifests, cut through all conventional exaggeration. 

All outer phenomena are to be known as the inherent radiance 
of the nature of mind, empty and nondual, 



54 The Way of Abiding 


SOUKUt V tKitb 33 


|ojaj-^c,-g5j?j-5^-|^'^c,-^c 1 -cjq-c,c,-| jt'^'^q-cqq-qlr^-^qrc^ii 

|q]^q , 3^^ , ^ , qpar^'qj§q| , qs^| |^N^q - ^ - a^wq - wr^ , q§ , qq - | 

l^aj-^Nsrq^sJ^-sj^srq^q-^^l i^q-^q^lsrsJ^Sjq^'q^^-garq^'^qi 

|qq-qj^q^'^'Oj?4'^qj'S4aq'tAj-^-qj^aj| |^c, l q r qj|q| i aj-£!]^-q^si-qqjqj-q^S!sj-qsj| 

l9jar|q' s I]^«rS^3jq«rq^-SJ?pq , ^| iq^Nisi^’^-q-^-^q-flirl^l 
iq^'^^-q-^q^q'^l |^^q-5I^-q'sil^^q]q^-q^-^SI| 

|(3q r qmi > -S^-qq-^-a]-^q-^q-qi |tqq^Sfi<i( r 5j|q^-5K^rgarq5 , §£I]«}| 

Ifjww^^qy^qjSqy^^-? 


while inner phenomena are nothing other than awareness as such. 
Within the nature of phenomena, nonexistent as one or many, 
the realization of a single basic space is revealed to be the key point 
of awareness. 

One implication that can be discerned is that all phenomena 
are of one taste. 

All apparent objects are unreal appearances — the realm of emptiness. 
Regardless of how things appear, rest within what is singularly 
uncontrived. 

The unique simultaneity of emptiness and lucidity arises 
in the immediacy of whatever manifests. 

All thought patterns involving ordinary mind and apparent 
phenomena fade away naturally — the realm of emptiness. 
However the mind stirs, rest gently in utter relaxation. 

The nature of phenomena is evident as enlightened intent 
in the immediacy of the mind stirring and thoughts proliferating. 

In the natural context of evenness, with no split between objects 
and mind, 

rest free of any framework, with naturally pristine perception 
that leaves no trace. 

Timeless awareness — profound insight — is evident within the 
ultimate state of innate lucidity. 

With the implications of three essential points being discerned 
within a single heart essence — 

that of evenness that is timeless whether or not there is realization, 
that of evenness in dharmakaya with no duality of objects and mind, 
and that of evenness within enlightened intent with neither error 
nor obscuration — 

the ultimate and natural place is held without interruption. 

With nothing discarded or adopted, the definitive heart essence 
is discovered. 

With no coming or going, there is abiding in enlightened intent — 
the nature of phenomena. 

There is fulfillment on the level that is without transition or change. 
Spacious, supreme — the enlightened mind of victorious ones, 
equal to space. 

No renunciation or attainment — the expanse of a single sphere. 



56 The Way of Abiding 


SOURCE VERSES 57 




|^-q§-qq-aj^-q|S|^^-SJ-q|WW-q«l| |^jq-q , *,^-|q , ^q| , qS-gq-q|«rq'Sq«j| 

|gq.’^q-^SJ«raj«rq^^si'^^-q«Ij 


|S:q|-q > SJ-q|tSfsj'gq-^q-|q-Hfaj| psfq^^^q-^-^q-rJsj'qS^I 
|fj-qq^-q^'^'q^'qq'^q'qj |ai-q^-q^^^-s 1 q , |q-«3 , ^*r^j 

|^si-gs,-|-qsi-s-^j-|il^q-gai| |Sip3q-q^-tq-^q-^|q«j-^-aj-q|qj 


Freedom in its own place — no question of whether or not 
there is realization. 

The point of resolution is reached — expansion into openness 
that transcends ordinary mind. 

From the pinnacle of the victory banner that never falls 
shine the sun and moon that illuminate the entire Universe. 

All phenomena are embraced within a single self-knowing awareness. 
Even though they arise as the totality of samsara and nirvana, 
the phenomena of the world of appearances and possibilities — 
limitless, boundless — arise from basic space. 

Therefore, they are subsumed within the basic space from which they 
first arise. 

Even as myriad things appear, they do not stray from the scope 
of awareness, 

so these apparent phenomena are embraced within the expanse 
of that naturally occurring awareness. 

Although subsiding in basic space, with no distinction between their 
arising and being freed, 
they are nothing other than awakened mind, 
and so are embraced by the single primordial nature in which 
phenomena are resolved. 

Therefore, all phenomena are embraced within a single awareness. 
The ultimate heart essence, without transition or change, 
is embraced within the very heart of enlightenment, 
unwavering awareness. 

It is fully encompassed as that which is unchanging 
and noncomposite. 

Within oneness, the decisive experience is that of naturally occurring 
timeless awareness itself. 

Basic space is without beginning or end. 

Everything is complete therein; all elaborations completely subside. 
All phenomena abide in the ultimate heart essence, the nature 
of phenomena. 

In this way, outer objects and inner mind — the phenomena 
of samsara and nirvana — 

are free of fragmenting elaborations that distinguish coarse 
from subtle. 



58 The Way of Abiding 


JUUROD V 


yy 


|qq , q , Sl^q , q3j r q , si^ , q'^q , | 

|| r q^^afq»I-q5^ai-q^q S ,| 

liM-si-^q-^jjl-sii-^sj-aj-q^qj |^q|'^q-sr^q]'si^'qa'^i-s3;'q| 
|cq-^-^^r^C'*il'^W'a 1 rq i |ai 

^•q]3jM-q^-qqjj 

jj^^s l -ujq-3q-35!Tqq-^-|q-^| l^q-^r^-S^rq^'qjq-a^-ai^f 

l^' q ‘^^' s i q '|' q 9* ! 'S^% s i q '] ll^-^rq-^wq^-frgj 


One comes to this decisive experience within basic space, 
timelessly empty like the sky. 

Even awakened mind, if analyzed, has no substance. 

It is without origination or duration, does not come or go, 
cannot be characterized, and is beyond expression. 

Since one comes to this decisive experience within the expanse 
of enlightened intent that surpasses ordinary mind, 
there is no substance with characteristics that can be defined 
as some “thing.” 

There is nothing to be known through language or expressed 
in words. 

Within the vast expanse — unnameable and free of elaboration — 
one comes to a decisive experience of the phenomena 
of the world of appearances and possibilities, whether of samsara 
or nirvana. 

Within the vast expanse — the unborn simultaneity of awareness 
and emptiness — 

one comes to a decisive experience concerning the phenomena 
of one’s own self-knowing awareness. 

Within the vast expanse — which has nothing to do with the 
recognition or nonrecognition of awareness — 
one comes to a decisive experience concerning the phenomena 
of awakened mind. 

Within the vast expanse — with no transition or change throughout 
the three times — 

one comes to a decisive experience concerning timelessly and totally 
empty phenomena. 

From The Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding, this is the fourth 
topic, reaching the definitive conclusion concerning the oneness of all 
phenomena within awareness — timeless awareness — as their source. 

Thus, this quintessential nectar of the most profound spiritual 
approach 

should be revealed only to individuals who are definitely 
of the highest intelligence and good fortune, 
not to those who follow lesser spiritual approaches, those biased 
toward causality, 



6 o The Way of Abiding 


Source verses 6i 


|^aj-qac > '^q-3>!S^-^si'q'I^'£3q - ^ | | |^'Sra]-^V^'^q'S'q'^q'| 

ijqq-ojqsi-l^q-^^-S-q^q-j j^'^qyqaq'^'^'q'^'q'S^'j 

l^-^q-q^q-q^-^-SI-^^rq'^i j^«'q5q'|i^'S'^^'^Fq^'q*^j 

l^^sw^^pK-wgj 

|»|ai-^-s,q-5jI^-^q-g|-q^S]25J-aj| |qsj-^-|q-qq-q^^q-q]^-qs,-g| 

l^q^^q^'llq-cf^, l^ - ar»r|arS-^q'^-2r»x*fljf^-| 
|q]^q-^sfq-^q’Tia'*^q|q-q^q-| ifj^^qq-^-lq-^-q^q'q^qj 


or those whose intelligence and good fortune are limited. 

Those who revile the guru, feel anger toward their spiritual siblings, 
violate the bounds of what is secret and proclaim it publicly, 
have no faith, are avaricious, are of ignoble character, 
and fixate on things of this life— keep what is secret from them. 
Fortunate people of the very highest caliber are candidates 
for the Great Perfection. 

Teach it to them, for they respect the guru, have sublime knowledge 
in abundance, 

are spacious and forbearing, have a great capacity for generosity, 
have little attraction to dualistic thinking, 

have given up concerns with this life, strive to attain enlightenment, 
have faith and diligence, and can maintain secrecy. 

For their part, they please the guru with gifts 

and, having already committed themselves, make a wholehearted 
request. 

Once this has been granted, they will practice appropriately 
and reach resolution on the level of the way of abiding. 

Moreover, the guru, who has heard many teachings 
and perfected positive qualities, 
examines all candidates, bestows the key points gradually 
while keeping them very secret from those who are not 
suitable candidates, 

applies the seal of command, and strictly conceals these points 
with the seal of trust. 

Teachings on the heart essence of definitive meaning are entrusted 
to fortunate heart children of the very highest caliber. 

They, in turn, do not disseminate this infallible ultimate heart essence 

to everyone, 

but hold it to be their own infallible heart essence. 

If the bounds of secrecy are violated, the injunction is broken 
and, owing to misinterpretation, the teachings on the heart essence 
will disappear. 

Therefore, maintain their secrecy and assimilate them in a peaceful 
and happy frame of mind. 

Dharmakaya, a majestic state of authentic being, will be gamed 
in this lifetime. 



62 The Way of Abiding 



Source Verses 63 


From The Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding, this is the fifth 
topic, reaching the definitive conclusion concerning the types of indi- 
viduals to whom these teachings may be imparted. 

These teachings thus make fully evident the ultimate meaning 
of the sublimely secret great perfection, so that it is no longer elusive. 
May they free all beings without exception, effortlessly and naturally, 
within primordial basic space as the ground of being. 

These teachings, which thoroughly shatter the furthest reaches 
of one’s view, 

are the very pinnacle of spiritual approaches — the basic space 
of the great and majestic garuda, 
the transmission of atiyoga, exalted above all. 

May this victory banner never fall, but unfold throughout 
the ten directions. 

Completely embraced within three categories, nine expanses, 
and four themes, 

the definitive meaning is found in sixteen topics of teachings. 

This detailed explanation, The Precious Treasury of the Way 
of Abiding, 

was composed in an excellent manner by the good 
Longchen Rabjam. 

The definitive meaning, the five chapters of this “treasure house 
of the way of abiding,” 

is well adorned with a wealth both vast and profound. 

May this treatise, made lovely by a vivid array of words 
and meanings, bring joy to hosts of fortunate people. 

This concludes The Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding, com- 
posed by Longchen Rabjam, one immersed in genuine being through 
the most majestic of spiritual approaches. 

Good fortune! Good fortune! Good fortune! 



The Exposition of the Quintessential 
Meaning of the Three Categories 

The Commentary 


In Sanskrit: Tri send garbhd ndmartha vrtti stathatva 
ratnasya kosa nama vrtti 

OT‘^1 

In Tibetan: sDe gsum snying po’i don ’grel 
gNas lugs rin po che’i mdzod ces bya ba’i ’grel pa 




Introduction 


In the language of India, the short title of this treatise would be 
Tatbdtva ratna kosa ndma vrtti; in the language of Tibet, it is gNas 
lugs rin po ched mdzod ces bya bad ’grel pa (A Commentary on the 
Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding). 

Homage to glorious Samantabhadra! 

To the original protector, the splendor of both conditioned 
existence and the state of peace — 
the primordially and spontaneously present expanse in which 
all qualities are perfect — 

and to victorious ones, to masters of awareness, and to gurus 
who are masters of the teachings, 

I pay homage, my deep faith like a lotus with a thousand 
petals stirring. 

I will compose an illuminating commentary on The Precious 
Treasury of the Way of Abiding, 
the definitive and consummate meaning that distills 
the essential points 

from the vast range of secret instructions that are the heart drop 
approach of direct experience — 
the very pinnacle of all spiritual approaches. 

Glorious Samantabhadra, when awakening to fully evident enlight- 
enment in the original ground of all phenomena, dwells as vajra basic 
space in a mode of supreme evenness. Of all the turnings of the unsur- 
passable wheel of dharma concerning the definitive meaning, the most 



68 The Way of Abiding 


INTRODUCTION 69 


sublime fruition is the supreme secret that, in one’s direct experience, 
reveals awareness — awakened mind, dharmakaya, suchness that is 
without transition or change, which is not something to be confirmed 
or refuted — to be beyond cause and effect, effort and achievement. 
This treatise of pith instructions, entitled The Precious Treasury of the 
Way of Abiding, summarizes the definitive topics concerning the con- 
summation of that secret. 

In elucidating the topics in this text, I begin here with the salutation: 

Primordial buddhahood, the ground of fully evident 
enlightenment, 

unchanging, spontaneously present, the basic space 
of the vajra heart essence — 

the nature of mind is natural great perfection. 

I pay homage to this, with nothing to discard or adopt, 
nothing to come or go. 

This stanza conclusively defines vajra basic space as it is referred to 
in this treatise, demonstrating that homage is offered in a manner that 
is free of discarding or adopting, complicating or simplifying any- 
thing, without wavering from the nature of phenomena, the natural 
place of rest. It is offered within the very essence of great perfection — 
the ultimate essence, naturally occurring timeless awareness, buddha- 
hood as the spontaneously present ground of being, the unchanging 
basic space of phenomena, the nature of mind that is utterly lucid by 
its very nature. 

In this regard, naturally occurring timeless awareness — great per- 
fection — is beyond all restrictions or extremes, beyond any confirma- 
tion or refutation, any effort or achievement. The Tantra of Supreme 
and Naturally Arising Awareness states: 

How marvelous! 

Ati, great perfection, does not fall into any extreme 

and so embraces the ultimate meaning of naturally occurring 
timeless awareness. 

For example, just as the carnivorous lion awes other predators 
with its majesty, 

so the Great Perfection speaks its own language and awes inferior 
approaches with its majesty. 


The Great Perfection speaks its own language and relies 
on its own ultimate meaning. 

In the scope of great perfection, there are neither buddhas 
nor ordinary beings. 

In great perfection, the ground of being is neither good nor bad. 

In great perfection, the spiritual path is neither long nor short. 

In great perfection, fruition is neither attainment 
nor nonattainment. 

In great perfection, enlightened form neither “is” nor “is not.” 

In great perfection, enlightened speech is neither changeable 
nor unchanging. 

In great perfection, enlightened mind has no substance 
or characteristics. 

In great perfection, basic space does not dissipate 
or become void. 

In great perfection, there is no location that is either high or low. 

In great perfection, conduct is neither spiritual nor nonspiritual. 

In great perfection, dynamic energy cannot be perfected, 
nor is it imperfect. 

In great perfection, display is not a matter of something 
arising or not. 

In great perfection, ultimately there is no meditation 
or nonmeditation. 

In great perfection, awareness is neither exalted nor otherwise. 

In great perfection, the supreme secret of timeless awareness 
displays itself as everything. 

In great perfection, there is no limit that can be characterized 
as some “thing.” 

In great perfection, there are no words or letters for its ultimate 
meaning. 

Great perfection is the majestic view of abiding in suchness itself. 

Engage in the ultimate meaning of great perfection, 
which entails no words or letters. 

The force of bliss is naturally manifest, involving no reifying 
thoughts of whether it is evident or obscured. 

In actuality, great perfection does not abide in any specific way. 

In the earlier quotation from my Treasury, the first three lines dem- 
onstrate this naturally occurring and fundamentally unconditioned 
essence, while the fourth demonstrates the means of becoming adept 
within its scope. The fruition is shown to be the natural place of rest 



70 The Way of Abiding 


Introduction 71 


that is fundamentally unconditioned. No goal exists, only a certain 
distinction that is made on the basis of gaining stability in the primary 
ground of being, and so all phenomena are shown to be perfect within 
awareness — awakened mind. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

This is not lacking in perfection in any way whatsoever. 

Since there is perfection in one, perfection in two, perfection 
in everything, 

there is ease in the abundance of fresh possibilities. 

There is perfection in one — perfection in awakened mind. 

There is perfection in two — perfection in what is produced 
by ordinary mind. 

There is perfection in everything — perfection in this abundance. 
According to this transmission concerning the perfection in one, 
the enlightened intent of buddhahood abides herein. 

The ultimate meaning of perfection in everything is that complete 
abundance is ensured. 

Although those who dwell in this state in which nothing 
need be done 

may physically be ordinary individuals such as gods and humans, 
their intent is in accord with the nature of phenomena — 
they are buddhas. 

In ensuring the welfare of beings, they make no effort and there is 
nothing to achieve; 
rather, they abide blissfully. 

The nature of mind, this naturally occurring timeless awareness, 
the ground from which samsara and nirvana unfold, is shown to be 
the object of homage. The Treasury of Songs of Realization states: 

The nature of mind alone is the seed of everything. 

Anything in conditioned existence or nirvana unfolds from it. 

Homage to mind, which is like the wish-fulfilling gem 
that grants the fruition of one’s desires. 

My commitment to compose this treatise is as follows: 

The expanse of the inexpressible nature of phenomena, 
the very pinnacle of view, is great perfection. 

Listen as I explain, according to my realization, 


the meaningfulness of that which transcends everything 
and is unlike anything else. 

That is to say, the expanse that is the nature of phenomena, beyond 
imagination and expression, is that of awareness — awakened mind, 
great perfection. Since it has no substance or characteristics, it even 
transcends being some object that could be illustrated through meta- 
phor. For the sake of future generations, I vow to demonstrate this ul- 
timate meaning, which I have realized thoroughly through the grace 
of my holy gurus. 

This work concerns the nature of mind, which is beyond cause and 
effect, effort and achievement, and which cannot be understood 
through inferior spiritual approaches. It is pure, for error and obscu- 
ration need not be renounced, yet it does not dwell within these. It is 
further shown that all phenomena can be understood to be mere la- 
bels. The Direct Encounter with the Three Kayas, composed by the 
great master Garab Dorje, states: 

The vast expanse, in which nothing need be done, is not limited 
by origination or cessation. 

Like the Isle of Gold, this expanse entails no differentiation 
or exclusion. 

Neither external nor internal, it arises yet never subsides. 

Awakened mind is the source that dispels the gloom 
of limitations. 

Within awakened mind the four limitations are not renounced, 
yet it is unaffected by these limitations, and so pitfalls are 
inevitably traversed. 

Within awakened mind itself, devoid of such chasms, 
the three kayas, which entail no effort, are spontaneously perfect, 
whereas samsara and nirvana are mere labels, 
imputed by holding causes and effects to be distinct from 
one another. 

I began this work with a statement of these points because my 
thought was to benefit those of the very highest acumen, who would 
thereby become free just as I intended. Since my larger commitment 
remains unchanged, however, I will continue this treatise to its conclu- 
sion. The Major Commentary on the Eight Thousand Stanzas states: 



72 The Way of Abiding 


Introduction 


73 


Those who hold others I * * * 5 welfare dear would not let their energy 
slacken, even for the sake of their own lives. 

Spiritual people who bear a burden never throw it off 
in difficult times. 

This discussion also fulfills the four requirements of any commen- 
tary on enlightened intent. The subject matter of this treatise is awak- 
ened mind — awareness that is beyond imagination and expression, 
beyond cause and effect. The primary purpose of this treatise is to 
present this so that those of the very highest acumen can realize it just 
as it is. The secondary, or further, purpose is to arrive at this funda- 
mentally unconditioned state in its immediacy, through practical ap- 
plication that is in harmony with such realization. The internal consis- 
tency lies in the fact that the latter purpose relies on the former. 

Therefore, given that everything manifests within the scope of 
awareness, The All-Creating Monarch speaks of the fact that this spir- 
itual approach is superior to all lower approaches because of the real- 
ization that this awareness is beyond causality or deliberate effort: 

I am awakened mind, the all-creating monarch. 

Since you realize my nature, 
proclaim the fact that all phenomena, 

however they manifest, do not exist as something other than me. 

Should you utter this proclamation of mine, 
all the hosts of retinues who gather around you 
will realize my nature as the all-creating one, 
so for them everything will be my own nature. 

Since everything is my nature, 
do not renounce or suppress any phenomena, 
however they manifest. 

Do not train in the two levels of truth. 

Do not perform the consecration of threefold purity through 
ritual cleansing. 

Do not engage in meditative absorption, deliberate arousal 
of motivation, effort, or achievement. 

Since everything is already ensured within my all-creating 
embrace, 

everything is equal in me, the all-creating one. 

There is no need for me — equalness itself — to create equalness. 


I have already proclaimed that there is no need to create 
equalness. 

The same text speaks of the purpose of such realization: 

As for revealing the specific and ultimate purpose: 
countless eons ago, those who had faith in me, 
all-creating enlightenment — 

those with suitable karma and good fortune, utterly immersed 
in genuine being — 

had no view to cultivate in meditation, no samaya to uphold, 
no enlightened activity involving effort, no paths to traverse, 
no levels of realization on which to train, no causal framework, 
no twofold division into ultimate and relative, 
nothing to cultivate in meditation or achieve, 
no motivation to be aroused and no antidotes. 

So that they might perceive the nature of all-creating mind, 

I revealed it for just this purpose. 

With this I have concluded my presentation of the first part of my 
work — the reasons for undertaking to write this treatise. 



The Vajra Premise 


Now, my treatise will explain the subject matter extensively, begin- 
ning with a concise presentation of the main body of the text through 
four vajra themes: 

For the categories of Mind, Expanse, and Direct Transmission, 
the consummate meaning of the heart essence 
is that of ineffability, openness, spontaneous presence, 
and oneness. 

Each of these has four divisions: revealing the key point, 
discerning the implications, 
embracing the larger scope, and coming to the decisive 
experience. 

The consummate meaning of natural great perfection is demon- 
strated by considering all phenomena under the headings of the “four 
great samayas.” All phenomena are by nature ineffable. They are 
timelessly and spontaneously present. They are open, in that they are 
not defined by restrictions or extremes. And they are encompassed 
within oneness — naturally occurring timeless awareness. The Tantra 
of Heaped Jewels states: 

At that point, samaya is beyond any boundaries to be observed. 
Supreme spontaneous presence, ineffability, oneness, 
and openness — 
these are its mainstays. 


75 



76 The Way of Abiding 


The Vajra Premise 77 


And The All-Illuminating Sphere states: 

The four samayas, which cannot be observed, 
are nonetheless unimpaired, timelessly upheld, and embody 
indwelling confidence. 

As for these secret samayas of mine, 

in supreme and self-knowing timeless awareness 

there is neither something to be upheld nor someone to uphold it, 

and so there is neither impairment nor lack of impairment. 

Since I do not follow the contrived lists of rules 

in the eight spiritual approaches, there is the term “ineff ability.” 

Since there is freedom from the samayas of lower approaches 

and one’s body, speech, and mind are spacious, 

the term “openness” is used. 

Without even the possibility of transgression, 
the means of upholding the samaya that cannot be observed 
lies in the oneness of self-knowing timeless awareness, 
and so the term “oneness” is used. 

In the oneness of self-knowing timeless awareness, 
there is total observance that involves no deliberate effort, 
and so the term “spontaneous presence” is used. 

And The All-Creating Monarch states: 

In me, the all-creating one, there is no samaya to be upheld. 

Since there are no causes or conditions, there is no need 
for either effort or achievement. 

Since there is spontaneous presence, there is no need to analyze. 
Since there is timeless awareness, there is no need for anything 
to be known. 

Since this is naturally occurring, causes and conditions are 
unnecessary. 

Since there is no better or worse, there is no need to accept 
or reject. 

Since there is no substance, this is explained as “ineff ability.” 
Not involving substance, timeless awareness is unceasing; 
the term “openness” refers to this. 

Everything is one within mind; this demonstrates “oneness.” 

Because all phenomena, however they manifest, 

are phenomena of mind — perfect in awakened mind — 

I explain them as being “spontaneously present.” 


Each of these four samayas is further analyzed under the following 
four topics: revealing its key point to be suchness itself; discerning the 
implications of its being ultimate and naturally occurring timeless 
awareness; embracing its larger scope as unborn and beyond the 
realm of the imagination; and coming to the decisive experience that it 
is beyond causality or deliberate effort. The sixteen factors thus enu- 
merated constitute the overview of this treatise. 

Furthermore, these topics correspond respectively to the follow- 
ing: the way of abiding as it is and always has been; immersion in 
genuine being as the experience of abiding within that context; con- 
duct that involves no fixation; and dharmakaya that is spontaneously 
present. When one knows this, the ultimate meaning that has not been 
perceived before is pointed out as being the supreme transcendence 
of phenomena and the falling away of ordinary consciousness. The 
Heaped Jewels states: 

Given the unique quality of timelessness beyond the three times, 
its constant flow is without interruption or boundary 
and so has no beginning, middle, or end. 

With linear time resolved in timelessness, 
there is only the label “supreme evenness,” 
for what comes about cannot be ascertained. 

Having no association with discursive thought as such, 
the complete and ultimate meaning of natural great perfection 
penetrates to the core of the ordinary mind. 

The thought that this is nonmanifest or nonexistent as an object 

is not cut through deliberately; 

rather, it is cut through in its own ground. 

The root of the nonrecognition of awareness, without having 
to be examined, 

is timelessly determined never to entail confusion. 

But none of this is perceptible to anyone in any way. 

Moreover, with all the coarse elements 
naturally cleared away from the very beginning, 
the ineffability of the realms of ordinary beings 
is naturally ensured. 

In the timeless ineffability of one’s body 

lies the knowledge that it has never existed and never will. 

All of this is timeless and does not manifest within any construct 
of time, 



7 8 The Way of Abiding 


The Vajra Premise 79 


be it unitary, twofold, sixfold, or threefold. 

Manifestation, partial manifestation, 

and nonmanifestation take place within their own contexts, 
yet what is timelessly present 

in transcending such contexts is not perceived by anyone. 
Timelessly untraversable, the path is ever close at hand. 

It is, in fact, timelessly present in oneself. 

It has not been perceived before, for one’s mind has been dull. 
The enlightened intent of meditative stability, which does not 
abide in any specific way, 

is timelessly present without being cultivated in meditation; 
no one has been aware of this before, either. 

As for self-identity and the objects of its reifying perceptions, 
from the very beginning, in the nature of phenomena, 
all these are the natural manifestations of self-knowing 
awareness, 

but previously there has been no knowledge that they 
manifest timelessly. 

The five afflictive emotions, bound up with a sense of identity, 
arise timelessly and naturally within awareness 
and are indwelling, but go unrecognized. 

The four elements — earth, water, fire, and air — 

have always constituted one’s physical body, 

but no one sees this, for everyone’s vision is truly dull. 

The vital essence of the pith instructions that condense 
the innermost secrets 

proclaims itself naturally without interruption, 
but no one has heard this — have they no ears to hear? 

The fragrance of naturally abiding basic space and awareness 
is never absent, but envelops one. 

Is the nose blocked, that one cannot smell this? 

The flavor of the pith instructions that blend three vital essences 
is and always has been the quintessence of mind and body. 

Has the tongue been cut out, that one cannot taste this? 
Apparent phenomena are naturally pure, and color is their 
adornment. 

Never separate from one’s body, 
like the shadow that it casts, 
they are present day and night. 

Is the body lifeless, that one cannot feel this? 


Pervasive suffering and the quality of happiness 

abide naturally in their inexpressibility, 

but no one knows this, for the ordinary mind is so dull. 

The habitual patterns of samsara are composite, 

yet they abide timelessly as dharmakaya, 

which is the seat of compassion, unperceived by anyone. 

With the arising of sense faculties, concepts of identity, 
and sense objects, 

the various recollections, thoughts, and mental stirrings 
arise timelessly and naturally as sambhogakaya, 
yet all this is not recalled, for everyone is so forgetful. 

Contrived actions, conduct, effort, and achievement, 
as well as all the cacophony of beings coming together — 
these are nirmanakaya, timelessly, 

but no one is conscious of this, for everyone is utterly dull. 

However thoughts and recollections stir, 
they are uninterrupted, like the flow of a river, 
constantly ensnaring the mind. 

One cannot implement meditation that is effortless, 
resting naturally, for the mind is so distracted. 

As for the tangible universe, 

upon examination it is ineffable by nature. 

What is ever present as the view that cuts through 
the momentum of the wheel of life is not perceived. 

Are the avenues of the senses blocked? 

To summarize, then, this view reveals the irrefutable key point that 
all phenomena of the world of appearances and possibilities, whether 
of samsara or nirvana, are none other than natural manifestations as 
the display, dynamic energy, and adornment of naturally occurring 
timeless awareness. The implications of this are discerned by virtue of 
the openness of unconstrained enlightened intent within the natural 
state of rest of this timeless awareness. The larger scope to be em- 
braced is one of conduct that is naturally pristine and unembellished 
with respect to anything that manifests, since all of this is spontane- 
ously present within naturally occurring timeless awareness. Within 
its spontaneous presence and oneness, there is the decisive experience 
of the fruition, since this oneness is nothing other than naturally oc- 
curring timeless awareness. 


8o The Way of Abiding 


Although we speak of these topics individually, in actuality they 
are encompassed within the scope of naturally occurring timeless 
awareness. The All-Creating Monarch presents a definitive conclu- 
sion regarding that very point according to three levels of interpreta- 
tion — metaphor, underlying meaning, and evidence: 

If you wish to realize its ultimate meaning with certainty, 
the metaphor is one of comparing it to space, 
the underlying meaning is the unborn nature of phenomena, 
and the evidence is the unceasing nature of mind. 

Since the nature of phenomena is like space, 

it is illustrated by the metaphor that likens it to space. 

The same source continues: 

All phenomena are awakened mind and the metaphor 
is that their nature is like space — the universal metaphor — 
which is also the ultimate meaning of awakened mind. 

This is the basic space, or source, of all phenomena. Just as the uni- 
verse manifests within the realm of space, what manifests as samsara 
and nirvana is nothing other than what manifests in light of aware- 
ness. Although all phenomena, which are produced and ascribed by 
ordinary mind, manifest within awakened mind, awakened mind is 
not itself created by anything. The same source states: 

Awakened mind, which creates everything, is unique in not 
being created. 

All-creative — naturally creative through enlightenment itself — 
that which is unique in not being created need not be created. 

Thus, it is the vajra premise of this work that all phenomena can 
be discussed within the scope of naturally occurring timeless aware- 
ness. I will now explain at length the supportive arguments, in five 
chapters concerning ineffability, openness, spontaneous presence, one- 
ness, and the candidates. 


1 


The Theme of Ineffability 


Of these five chapters, the first concerns ineffability. This is consid- 
ered under four headings: revealing the key point, discerning the 
implications, embracing the larger scope, and coming to the decisive 
experience. 


Revealing the Key Point 

All phenomena are shown to have no substance or characteristics: 

Of these, I will first demonstrate the theme of ineffability. 

The ineffable nature of things is that they are empty by virtue 
of their very essence. 

In the vast expanse of awakened mind, equal to space, 
however things appear, they are at the same time ineffable 
by nature. 

Both the essence of awareness and all phenomena that appear 
within its scope are such that timelessly they are empty and without 
identity, so all elaborations subside thoroughly in being unborn. The 
All-Illuminating Sphere states: 

Awareness, tranquil and having no substance, 
entails no elaboration, substance, or characteristics. 


81 



82 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Ineffability 83 


The metaphor for ineffability, as well as its meaning, is ascertained: 

Within the womb of basic space as an infinite sky, 
however the universe manifests through transitions and changes 
in the four elements, 

these forms of emptiness are ineffable by nature, 
as are phenomena that are the manifest aspect of 
awakened mind. 

Although the creation and destruction of world systems occur 
within the realm of space, these manifestations have no essence within 
that space, and so are ineffable by nature. The four elements that ac- 
count for these manifestations, in being produced and destroyed, by 
nature lack true existence and so do not exist on the level of even the 
most subtle subatomic particles. Just as animate and inanimate phe- 
nomena have never actually existed, so too awareness and all phe- 
nomena that appear within its scope are ineffable by nature. The All- 
Creating Monarch states: 

And so, just as there is nothing in the entire universe, the world 
of all appearances and possibilities, 
that does not abide within the realm of space, 
so too the enormous scope of the vast expanse of awakened mind 
is such that buddhas, ordinary beings, and the entire universe are 
present therein. 

Still, in the nature of phenomena — the total innate purity 
of everything — 

there is no duality, for there is freedom from all value judgments. 

Now, phenomena, which manifest in light of awareness, are shown to 
be ineffable by nature: 

Just as illusory images, while manifesting in any way whatsoever, 
are empty by nature and have no substance, 
so all phenomena — the world of appearances and possibilities — 
even as they manifest 

do not waver from awakened mind and have no substance. 


In this way, regardless of how things manifest — the entire realm of 
apparent phenomena as a container, and beings in possible states of 
conditioned existence as the contents — they, like an illusory universe, 
are ineffable by nature, neither wavering nor separating from the 
scope of awareness. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

All phenomena of the universe — the world of appearances 
and possibilities, whether of samsara or nirvana- 
are inevitably such that they do not waver from awakened mind. 

Phenomena appearing in this way are shown not to waver from the 
scope of spontaneously present awareness: 

Just as dreams do not stray from sleep 
and, even as they appear, are by nature ineffable, 
the world of appearances and possibilities, whether of samsara 
or nirvana, 

likewise does not waver from the scope of awakened mind 
and has no substance or characteristics. 

Just as dream images — environments, people, and so forth — do 
not stray from the realm of sleep, so all naturally manifest phenomena 
of the six states of ordinary being are such that they do not waver 
from the basic space of awareness. As well, the three kayas — all phe- 
nomena of the pure state of perception — do not waver even slightly 
from the basic space of awareness, free of dualistic perception. The 
Direct Encounter with the Three Kayas states: 

The six kinds of beings and the four modes of rebirth 
originate from the basic space of phenomena and return 
to that space. 

Although objects and mind appear distinct from one another 
within dualistic perception, 

it is the basic space of phenomena that is perceived as object, 
basic space that is perceived as subject. 

There is no dualistic perception within the realm 
of basic space itself. 

The extent of what is known by buddhas of the three times 
arises from the basic space of phenomena and is known therein. 


84 The Way of Abiding 

Knowing is unceasing and the known is the basic space 
of phenomena. 

The direct encounter with the three kayas is the expanse within 
which there is natural arising and natural freedom. 

Although there is the outward appearance of objects, they have never 
existed as mind or anything other than mind: 

Although phenomena appear as they do to the mind, 

they are not mind, nor anything other than mind. 

Given their illusory nature as clearly apparent yet ineffable 
manifestations, 

moment by moment they are beyond description, imagination, 
or expression. 

For this reason, know that all phenomena that appear 
to the mind 

are ineffable even as they manifest. 

The apparent phenomena that manifest as the five kinds of sense 
objects (visual forms and so forth), and the phenomena of the uni- 
verse that seem to appear in their own right, manifest to the mind and 
so are nothing other than that. Even though they appear to be some- 
thing other, like dreams and illusions they are ineffable by nature, and 
so have never been anything “other” and have never even been mind. 
In accordance with the eight traditional metaphors for illusoriness, an 
examination of phenomena as forms of emptiness, clearly apparent 
yet ineffable — whether considered to be composed of reducible or ir- 
reducible particles — determines their equalness in having no identity. 
One knows the basic space of unchanging emptiness through these 
natural manifestations of the nature of mind. The All-Creating Mon- 
arch states: 

Seek the location of the heart essence through phenomena that 
derive from it 

and come to appreciate it through the skillful means of not 
conceptualizing in any way whatsoever. 

Since the heart essence occurs naturally, dharmakaya is not 
elsewhere. 


The Theme of Ineffability 85 

Examine even the smallest particle of matter and it is free 
of all differentiation. 

That which is ultimately meaningful, not abiding 
in any specific way, 

is sublime timeless awareness, which occurs naturally. 

If one enters the totally pure path to the direct and completely 
nonconceptual experience 

of the spacious heart essence, one attains a majestic evenness. 

Since this does not and will not change, there is no context 
for attachment. 

Similarly, there is no object to be perceived, no context 
for ordinary mind. 

Well, you might ask, “aren’t you asserting everything to be 
mind?” Let me clearly outline the distinction to be made. In general, if 
the world of appearances and possibilities, whether of samsara or nir- 
vana, is explained to be awakened mind, what is meant is that phe- 
nomena are alike (in that they do not waver from a single awareness) 
and manifest naturally as the display, dynamic energy, and adornment 
of that awareness. In this sense they are considered to be mind, just as 
one calls the rays of the sun “the sun” when one says, “Sit in the mid- 
day sun.” 

There are two ways to refute such an assertion. According to logi- 
cal reasoning, this would require that mind exhibit color and other 
distinctive features, because apparent phenomena have color and 
such features. It would also require that mind be external or that ap- 
parent phenomena be internal, and so their actual relationship would 
be thrown into chaos. And it would require that when one died the 
universe would collapse at the same time. In these and other ways, the 
assertion is disproved by its logical absurdity . 1 

This assertion can also be disproved by scriptural authority. 
Samantabhadra: Mirror of Enlightened Mind states: 

To hold that apparent phenomena are mind is to stray from me. 

And Naturally Arising Awareness states: 

Why is this variety held to be mind? 

With all that occurs, some hold this variety to be mind, 



86 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Ineffability 87 


valid whether the fruition of buddhahood comes about 
or whether ordinary beings remain unawakened. 

To give an example, black coal does not become white 
even if polished. 

Similarly, in their confusion, ordinary beings 
do not awaken to buddhahood even though they meditate 
and practice. 

And The Tantra Summarizing the Ultimate Meaning states: 

Fools who do not perceive the ultimate meaning 
claim that apparent phenomena are one’s own mind. 

This is like taking brass to be gold. 

In this regard, these days some who arrogantly assume that they 
understand the Great Perfection approach, or who follow ordinary 
spiritual approaches, hold apparent phenomena to “be” one’s own 
mind. They speak without defining the issues involved and so commit 
an extremely serious error, for ordinary mind and awakened mind are 
not identical. “Ordinary mind” refers to the eight modes of con- 
sciousness and their associated mental events, which together consti- 
tute the adventitious distortions affecting beings in the three realms. 
“Awakened mind” refers to awareness — that is, naturally occurring 
timeless awareness that has no substance or characteristics, the basic 
space of all samsara and nirvana. Since the world of appearances and 
possibilities arises as the dynamic energy or the display of awakened 
mind, “awakened mind” — which is actually their cause — is simply 
the label applied to them as the result. While that which manifests as 
samsara and nirvana is understood to be the dynamic energy of 
awareness, one should further understand that awareness itself consti- 
tutes an unceasing ground for the arising of things, although it has 
never existed as anything, whether of samsara or nirvana. 

Apparent objects are understood to be clearly apparent yet inef- 
fable and have never been mind or anything other than mind, being 
empty yet clearly apparent, groundless, and timelessly pure. When 
freedom occurs, the dynamic energy and display, in being groundless, 
are naturally pure, which is like awakening from a dream. Thus, one 
should understand that self-knowing awareness, without ever having 


wavered from its original state of natural rest — unchanging dhar- 
makaya — is uncontaminated by any substance or characteristics. 

These days, no one other than me makes such distinctions. Some 
hold apparent phenomena to be mind, others hold them to be some- 
thing else, but they have no opinions other than these. Even people 
within my own school are not precise, because they accept that which 
arises as dynamic energy, display, and adornment to be the essence. 

In this regard, “dynamic energy” is the creative potential of aware- 
ness and accounts for the fact that samsara and nirvana arise differ- 
ently, just as the very same ray of sunlight causes a lotus blossom to 
open and a night lily to close. “Display” is used in the sense of the ra- 
diance of awareness displaying itself, like a lamp displaying itself as 
light or the sun displaying itself as sunbeams. “Adornment” refers to 
the fact that naturally manifest phenomena, appearing in full array, 
arise of themselves as adornment in light of awareness. This is similar 
to rainbows, the sun and moon, stars, and planets being adornments 
of the sky. Moreover, concerning these terms The All-Illuminating 
Sphere states: 

The essence of dynamic energy is unceasing. 

The same source continues: 

Unceasing, nondual, and richly endowed — 

I have shown these to be the essence of display. 

It further states: 

Therefore, beauty is referred to as “adornment.” 

With these related topics, I have finished demonstrating my point. 

Now, it is shown that awareness itself has never existed as anything: 

And so, just as apparent objects are ineffable by nature, 
the nature of awakened mind, which perceives them, 
is in essence ineffability, like that of space. 

Know this to be beyond description, imagination, or expression. 



88 The Way of Abiding 


The essence of awareness — the ground for the arising of the world 
of appearances and possibilities, whether of samsara or nirvana has 
never existed as anything and so is like space. The All-Creating Mon- 
arch states: 

Awakened mind — its nature is that of space. 

All phenomena are awakened mind and the metaphor 

is that their nature is like space — the universal metaphor. 

The very essence of ineffability is present in the following way: 

In naturally occurring timeless awareness, the ultimate 
heart essence, 

there is no causality, so the abyss of samsara is crossed. 

There is no better or worse, so samsara and nirvana 
are an integrated mandala. 

There is no error or obscuration, so the three planes of 
conditioned existence are seen through incisively. 

There is no causality in the essence of awareness as such, naturally 
lucid 2 in all its nakedness, and so the pitfall of samsara and the abyss 
of happiness and suffering are timelessly crossed. While the whole of 
samsara occurs due to the unceasing manner in which causes and ef- 
fects manifest, awareness in its very essence never existed as any cause 
or effect. For this reason, it has no error or obscuration, no quality of 
better or worse. So whatever manifests— samsara or nirvana — consti- 
tutes an integrated mandala in light of awareness. In actuality this has 
never existed, and so one’s mind is at ease. 

Within the scope of awareness, which has never existed as any- 
thing, it makes no difference what arises and abides therein, for every- 
thing is timelessly free in never having known existence. This being so, 
it is simply a matter of remaining in the realization of that in all its im- 
mediacy. Other than this (although one might speciously posit some- 
thing to be “buddhahood”), in actuality nothing whatsoever has im- 
proved, because there has been no wavering from what is, like space, 
fundamentally unconditioned. Deep Immersion in Awareness, com- 
posed by the master Garab Dorje, states: 


1 HE 1 HEME OF INEFFABILITY 89 

Given evenness, in which objects are not conceptualized 
and mind is not reified, 

body and mind dwell as a matter of course in the expanse 
of that evenness. 

Regardless of how awareness appears to arise, 

as a matter of course there is no wavering from this expanse 3 
of evenness. 

Objects with characteristics have no existence as objects, 
for there is abiding in a state of deep immersion. 

Timelessly there is no duality, and so no distinctions 
can be made. 

No distinctions can be made between ordinary beings 
and buddhas, between samsara and nirvana. 

What has substance and what lacks substance are equal 
in basic space. 

Buddhas and ordinary beings are equal in basic space. 

Relative and ultimate reality are equal in basic space. 

Flaws and qualities are equal in basic space. 

Up, down, all directions are equal in basic space. 

Therefore, when arising, things arise equally, without being better 
or worse. 

When abiding they abide equally, without being better or worse. 

When freed they are freed equally, without being better or worse. 

Although they arise unequally, they arise from the basic space 
of their equalness. 

Although they abide unequally, they abide in the basic space 
of their equalness. 

Although they are freed unequally, they are freed within the basic 
space of their equalness. 

In basic space there has never been a question of there being 
arising or not. 

In basic space there has never been a question of there being 
abiding or not. 

In basic space there has never been a question of there being 
freedom or not. 

When things arise, they arise naturally and so hold their 
own place. 

When they abide, they abide naturally and so hold their 
own place. 



90 The Way of Abiding 


1 JtlJb 1 11*JY1.L O* UN*.*' LABILITY yi 


When they are freed, they are freed naturally and so hold their 
own place. 

They arise, abide, and are freed, and when they arise, 
their arising and their freedom are simultaneous 
and uninterrupted. 

Since there is no interruption, causality does not intervene. 

Since there is no causality, the abyss of samsara is crossed. 

This abyss has no basis, so how could there be any chance 
of falling? 

The expanse of Samantabhadra is timelessly unchanging. 

The realm of Vajrasattva is without transition or change. 

It all comes down to using the term “buddhahood” 
to refer to nothing more than one’s own true face 
beholding itself. 

Concerning the absence of error and obscuration, The All-Illumi- 
nating Sphere states: 

Within the unique sphere of great perfection 

there is no question of whether or not there are pitfalls. 

Such pitfalls are, by nature, totally pure. 

In the unique freedom from everything, nothing whatsoever 
is abandoned. 

Since there has never been duality in the view, meditation, 
conduct, and fruition of ati, 

there is no error or obscuration due to dualistic appearances. 

View, meditation, conduct, and fruition — because these four 
have always been naturally occurring timeless awareness, 
there is no error or obscuration due to the coming together 
of causes and conditions. 

The view, meditation, conduct, and fruition of great perfection 
are spontaneously present. 

Thus, the obscurations and pitfalls of striving with hope and fear 
in meditation and spiritual practice are completely 
and innately pure. 

Since there is nothing prior to me, 

I am unobscured, lucid timeless awareness. 

Although the eight spiritual approaches manifest as inferior, 
they are nonetheless the deeds and conduct of my responsiveness. 
Inalienable sublime knowing dwells within me. 


Given timeless awareness, unadulterated and perfect, 
any pitfalls due to lapses are totally and innately pure. 

In the natural lucidity of inalienable sublime knowing, 
it is clear that there is none of the fragmentation that results 
from error or obscuration. 

Since this is beyond the teachings of lower spiritual approaches, their 
defining characteristics are shown to be nonexistent: 

Enlightenment — the nature of mind, like space — 

is not defined by any extreme or bias, for it is nondual by nature. 

So there is no view to be cultivated, no samaya to be upheld, 
no effort to be made in enlightened activity, nothing to obscure 
timeless awareness, 

no levels on which to train, no paths to be traversed, 
no subtle factors, no duality, no dependent relationship. 

Since value judgments are transcended, there is nothing spiritual 
or nonspiritual. 

This expanse, like the Isle of Gold in that it entails no 
differentiation or exclusion, 
is the naturally occurring nature of mind, like space, 
ineffable by nature and beyond all characterization 
and expression. 

The very essence of awareness itself has never existed as anything, 
so nothing exists within it — no specific factors of view, meditation, 
conduct, or fruition; no levels of realization on which to train or paths 
to be traversed; no development or completion stage constructs; no 
structured samaya; no enlightened activity to be accomplished; no 
timeless awareness that brings about improvement; or anything else. 
Without value judgments, there is no differentiation or exclusion con- 
cerning what is spiritual and what is not, and one reaches the decision 
that whatever appears or arises is naturally manifest, timelessly free, 
and totally and innately pure. When one journeys to the precious Isle 
of Gold, there is no ordinary earth or stone to be found even if one 
searches for it. Similarly, there is nothing to be found in awareness 
that is not free, or that is a factor to be abandoned, or that constitutes 
a view, meditation, conduct, or fruition to be deliberately contrived. 



5JZ IHt WAY OF ABIDING 


The Theme of Ineffability 93 


This is because awareness is uninterrupted, with everything appearing 
freely and vividly — the natural manifestation of unobstructed aware- 
ness in which phenomena are resolved. 

Therefore, as The All-Creating Monarch states, there is nothing to 
be sought or achieved through the ten attributes: 

The heart essence of everything — this awakened mind, 
itself timelessly and spontaneously present by nature — 
need not be sought or achieved through the ten attributes. 

My nature is like space, the universal metaphor. 

In pure space all is such that it entails no effort; 

in pure space all is such that there is no effort to be made. 

Space, within which all is created, is beyond all effort 
and achievement; 

so too is the all-creating heart essence, awakened mind. 

Because I transcend the entire range of finite experience, 
in me there is nothing to view, nor ever anything to cultivate 
in meditation. 

Likewise, the nature of these ten attributes is such that 
for me, the transcendent one, nothing need be done. 

Those who follow spiritual approaches based on either 
causes or results 

wish to behold me and my nature. 

As though stepping out into space and falling to earth, 
they will fail in their attempts to progress by using these 
ten attributes. 

My nature shows itself to be authentic. 

Because I transcend the entire range of finite experience, 
there is no view to be cultivated in meditation. 

Similarly, given that the ten attributes do not exist ultimately, 
if you do not insist upon thinking that they do exist ultimately, 
there is no object perceived by your looking at me, 
so do not attempt to look: rest in suchness itself. 

Since there is no cause that separates one from the unborn state 
free of elaboration, 

there is no need to observe vows and spiritual disciplines. 

Because the heart essence is timelessly and spontaneously present, 
there is no need for effort or achievement. 

Because naturally occurring timeless awareness is unobscured, 
this awareness cannot be made more lucid. 


Because everything abides on my level, 

there are no levels of realization to train on and traverse. 

Because I abide all-pervasively, there is no path that leads to me. 
Because I am timelessly free of dualistic perception, 
there is nothing that could even be labeled “subtle.” 

Because my form is all-pervasive, “two” have never existed. 

Since I have always been naturally occurring timeless awareness, 
there is no definitive conclusion about me for anyone to reach. 

Since I am the very heart of everyone’s enlightenment, 
there is no secret source of pith instructions elsewhere. 

And The Direct Encounter with the Three Kayas states: 

The vast expanse, in which nothing need be done, is not limited 
by origination or cessation. 

Like the Isle of Gold, this expanse entails no differentiation 
or exclusion. 

Awakened mind is the source that dispels the gloom 
of limitations. 

Within awakened mind the four limitations are not renounced, 
yet it is unaffected by these limitations, and so pitfalls are 
inevitably traversed. 

Now, awareness is shown to transcend any cause or effect, whether 
positive or negative: 

Within the ultimate heart essence — awareness as such 4 — 
there is nothing to improve upon, so positive actions bring 
no benefit. 

There is nothing to deteriorate, so negative actions inflict 
no injury. 

There is no karmic causality, so there is no happiness or suffering 
as its inevitable consequence. 

There is no better or worse, so there is no rejection of samsara 
or acceptance of nirvana. 

There is no way to think of or express this essence, so there is 
freedom from all such attempts. 

There is no before or after, so successive lifetimes are 
mere labels. 

How can anything be perpetuated? 



94 1HE Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Ineffability 95 


How can anyone move through samsara at all? 

What is karma? What are its inevitable consequences ? 5 
Contemplate and examine the ultimate meaning, 
which is like space. 

In this regard, The Text of Precious Copper Letters states: 

Look carefully at what is truly meaningful — at awareness. Are 
there the ten kinds of virtuous actions to carry out? Is there any 
samaya to uphold? Is there any view, meditation, conduct, or 
fruition to implement? Are there any inevitable karmic conse- 
quences, any lower states of existence? 

This and similar passages point out that in awareness as such — dhar- 
makaya in all its nakedness — regardless of what virtue has been cre- 
ated, nothing becomes any better and so no benefit is entailed. 
Regardless of what harm has been created, there is nothing to deterio- 
rate and therefore no injury is inflicted. Since its very essence has 
never been anything, there is no karmic process with its inevitable 
consequences, whether pleasant or painful, better or worse. Since 
there are no previous or future lifetimes, or any karmic causality, sam- 
sara amounts to nothing but a mere label. For those who do not real- 
ize that the very essence of awareness abides thus, samsara manifests 
as pleasant or painful. For one immersed in genuine being, however, 
the state of total resolution is termed “tunelessly pure emptiness in 
which phenomena are resolved.” Although samsara and nirvana — all 
that is positive or negative — appear like dream images within the 
scope of awareness, the very essence remains unaffected by them and 
there are no causes or effects, whether positive or negative. Since they 
do not exist, previous and future lifetimes are nonexistent. Since the 
process by which things originate absolutely falls away, the three 
planes of conditioned existence are emptied in supreme original pu- 
rity — the “great dredging of the pit of samsara to its depths.” 

By abiding thus in the very essence of awareness, those immersed 
in genuine being realize this awareness. When they rest in the very es- 
sence of what is truly meaningful, there is not the slightest benefit or 
injury, regardless of the positive or negative karma they may have cre- 
ated. This is because they have merged with the immediacy of what is. 
For this reason, those who are immersed in genuine being to the very 


highest degree relate to apparent phenomena in an easygoing way, 
since virtue and harm do not exist for them. They never fall outside 
self-knowing awareness as such, because for them there is only the un- 
derstanding that awareness manifests naturally. 

The twelve kinds of vajra laughter, as discussed in The Tantra of 
Heaped Jewels , give one conviction in this approach: 

O Essence of the Vajra of Speech of All Buddhas, behold the view, 
naturally occurring timeless awareness. How marvelous — it is be- 
yond positive and negative, beyond view and meditation. The im- 
mutable ground of being is free of any benefit or harm, regardless 
of what is done physically or verbally. Ha! Ha! 

O Vajra of Speech, behold the fundamentally unconditioned 
way in which things are present. How marvelous — these manifes- 
tations undergo no change or alteration. Regardless of how one 
thinks of them, as pleasant or painful, in actuality they are un- 
changing. Ha! Ha! 

O Vajra of Speech, behold supreme emptiness, timeless aware- 
ness that is the source of everything. How marvelous — it arises as 
display regardless of the many kinds of purposeful conduct un- 
dertaken. Regardless of what has been done, freedom is unceas- 
ing within the unborn expanse. Ha! Ha! 

Listen further, O Vajra of Speech! Behold the nature of phe- 
nomena, empty and all-pervasive timeless awareness. How mar- 
velous — it is unborn and abides timelessly, coemergent with being 
itself. Even if a person were to seize a sharp weapon and slay all 
beings at once, that person’s mindstream would still be free of 
benefit or harm. Ha! Ha! 

O Vajra of Speech, behold your empty awareness, timeless 
awareness that allows for the manifestation of everything. How 
marvelous — all apparent phenomena, however they manifest, 
arise as your allies. Although they manifest as anything whatso- 
ever, they do not waver from their own ground. Ha! Ha! 

O Essence of the Vajra of Speech, behold empty awareness, 
the vision that allows for the freedom of everything. How marvel- 
ous — it constitutes its own greatest ally. Afflictive emotions are 
naturally freed in and of themselves. Ha! Ha! 

O Vajra of Speech, behold empty awareness, the essence of 
universal purity. How marvelous — the fruition is discovered in it- 



96 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Ineffability 97 


self, without exertion. With this single assurance, all samsara and 
nirvana is innately pure in nonduality. Ha! Ha! 

O Vajra of Speech, behold the essence, supreme emptiness, the 
matrix that is the ground of all experience. How marvelous — the 
six kinds of beings manifest as the three kayas. Ordinary beings 
awaken to buddhahood at once without having meditated in the 
slightest. Ha! Ha! 

O Vajra of Speech, behold the three kayas, supreme empti- 
ness, the fruition that is timelessly perfect. How marvelous — 
united throughout the three times, they do not come together and 
then separate. Without one engaging in the six perfections, the ac- 
cumulations are completed simultaneously. Ha! Ha! 

O Vajra of Speech, behold awareness resting in the immediacy 
of the moment, the universal evenness of supreme emptiness. 
How marvelous — all deliberate actions arise as adornment . 6 
Within view there is freedom from all reaction. Ha! Ha! 

O Vajra of Speech, behold the emptiness of what is empty — su- 
preme and timeless emptiness. How ironic — all buddhas would 
find themselves on the edge of an abyss, and meditation involving 
deliberate actions would cause them to plummet. Ha! Ha! 

O Vajra of Speech, behold the reification of emptiness as that 
which is not empty. How astonishing — some spiritual approaches 
misconstrue what is ineffable as having identity. The unborn is at- 
tained through that which seems to be born. Ha! Ha! 

It is shown that there is always abiding without duality: 

Even though you investigate intelligently, contemplating 
and analyzing over and over, 
there is no fragment of substance — not even an atom 
can be found — and no division of time. 

With no dualistic perception, in that very moment there is abiding 
in the heart essence, 

ultimately meaningful and fundamentally unconditioned. 
Ineffable when examined — and by the same token ineffable when 
not examined — 

phenomena in their multiplicity are always ineffable, 
since there is not the slightest frame of reference, even in terms 
of conventional labels . 7 

Know that by nature they have no substance, like illusions. 


What is ultimately significant about the ineffability of causes and 
effects, whether positive or negative, is that it does not vary, being 
constant throughout the three times (earlier, later, and at present). 
Even if you repeatedly seek awareness, whether outwardly, inwardly, 
or in between, you will not find it. You will not find it even if you ana- 
lyze the smallest particle of the whole universe or of the beings it con- 
tains. You will not find it even if you examine each instant of either 
ordinary mind or awareness. Even though you divide time into past, 
future, and present, the earlier phase has ceased to be, the later phase 
has not yet come into being, and the present moment is forfeited in the 
interval between and cannot be found. Similarly, no karma or its in- 
evitable consequences — no causes or effects, whether positive or nega- 
tive — can be found. 

While phenomena are ineffable when you investigate them in this 
way, by the same token they are ineffable if you do not examine or in- 
vestigate them, because there are absolutely no parameters for investi- 
gation and neither specific nor universal defining characteristics. They 
do not exist even on the level of conventional labels. While things in- 
deed appear as they do to immature people — those deluded about the 
meaning of thatness itself — even once they have appeared they still do 
not exist, for the essence of awareness is absolutely unchanging. (It is 
similar to a magical illusion within which people seem to engage in 
positive and negative acts, even though there are no inevitable conse- 
quences of those acts for them to experience.) This is so because if 
there truly were causes and effects, there would be no alternative to 
the logical conclusion that they are without transition or change. 

Therefore, while causes and effects, whether positive or negative, 
do not have true existence for anyone, in particular they do not exist 
even as falsehoods for those immersed in genuine being, for whom 
there are no inevitable consequences to be experienced. One will gain 
conviction on these points through the “seven key statements on won- 
derment,” which are stated in The Heaped Jewels: 

How marvelous! You, Essence of the Vajra of Speech, listen! Your 
own awareness is itself free of birth and death. With this key 
point I, Samantabhadra, have shown that there is not the slightest 
difference between an individual who has taken the lives of ten 
million beings and one who engages in the ten perfections. 



yo inn WAX <u> t AblUlMG 

O Vajra of Speech, there are no elaborations, only the nature 
of phenomena. With this key point I, Samantabhadra, have 
shown that, regarding their awakening to buddhahood, there is 
not the slightest difference between two people, one a spiritual 
person who constantly cultivates a familiarity with emptiness in 
meditation and the other a person who has never entertained the 
idea of emptiness for even an instant. 

O Vajra of Speech, awareness itself is noncomposite. With this 
key point I, Samantabhadra, have shown that, regarding the op- 
portunity to perfect the accumulations, there is not the slightest 
difference between two people, one with faith who has performed 
immeasurable acts of virtue that is composite and another who is 
continually engaged in taking life. 

O Vajra of Speech, awareness — timeless awareness — does not 
come or go. With this key point I, Samantabhadra, have shown 
that, regarding their perception of ultimate reality, there is not the 
slightest difference between two people, one a spiritual person 
who exhibits even various physical and verbal signs of having re- 
alized the nature of phenomena and the other a person who has 
not trained his or her mind even for an instant in hearing and con- 
templating spiritual teachings. 

O Vajra of Speech, the nature of phenomena has no origin or 
cessation. With this key point I, Samantabhadra, have shown 
that, regarding their access to avenues of realization, there is not 
the slightest difference between two people, one undergoing the 
agonies of heat or cold in a hell realm and another enjoying the 
bliss of buddhas. 

O Vajra of Speech, awareness is unchanging. With this key 
point I, Samantabhadra, have shown that, regarding realization 
of the way of abiding, there is not the slightest difference between 
two people, one a spiritual person who has cut through concep- 
tual elaborations and another who believes that things have per- 
manent identity. 

O Vajra of Speech, dharmakaya is present within you. With 
this key point I, Samantabhadra, have shown that, regarding 
their attainment of the goal, there is not the slightest difference 
between two people, one who outwardly makes all kinds of offer- 
ings, praises, and prayers of supplication and another who simply 
sits without engaging in any action. 


The Theme of Ineffability 99 

Vajra of Speech, it is for these reasons that a person who ap- 
plies these statements about the supreme and naturally occurring 
state will discover the indwelling confidence to apply them effort- 
lessly and thereby, in the inseparability of apparent phenomena 
and the three kayas, awaken to buddhahood. 

Freedom is shown to come about through realization of the ultimate 
meaning of ineffability: 

Within the context of emptiness that is inherent in dreams 
and magical illusions, 

those who are unwise and immature are bound by fixation, 
but those who are conscious of the nature of these cannot 
be bound. 

Likewise, people who lack wisdom concerning ineffability 
are bound by fixation on identity and so are caught up 
in samsara, 

while wise people who are immersed in genuine being — 
aware of thatness and decisive in the very moment 
about ineffability — 

are free within the expanse, the nature of phenomena in which 
there is no causality. 

When the play of magic causes phantoms to emanate, the young, 
whose judgment is undeveloped, become attached to them. Their 
minds are bound by thinking of them as truly existent, while their el- 
ders understand what is really the case and are not ensnared. Simi- 
larly, though phenomena appear as they do, they cannot stand up to 
examination, for they are clearly apparent but illusory forms of emp- 
tiness that manifest naturally. Yet people who fixate on identity are 
continually ensnared in samsara by thinking of them as truly existent. 
Those immersed in genuine being, however, who are conscious of 
thatness itself, are beyond either bondage or release, and so are free in 
the expanse that is without characteristics. It is as The Discourse of 
the Rare and Sublime Meteor states: 

All phenomena are similar to the Sugata. 

Those whose minds are undeveloped, who invest things 
with characteristics, 



i uu inn WAY Ur ABIDING 


1 HE 1 HEME OF lNEFFABILITY IOI 


are caught up in the phenomena of their world, which are 
ineffable. 

If they looked, they would gain understanding through 
this total refinement. 

For those immersed in genuine being, who realize that all phenom- 
ena manifest yet lack true existence, it is clearly evident that there is 
nothing that is not free within the expanse of awakened mind. This 
shows that what does not hold for those involved with cause and ef- 
fect, with effort and achievement, is entirely valid for those immersed 
in genuine being. The Natural Freedom That Underlies Characteris- 
tics, composed by the master Garab Dorje, states: 

The fact that the nature of phenomena is freedom in nonduality 
is perfectly plausible, but it is not conceivable in lower 
approaches. 

The ease with which a wild goat kid 8 climbs a rock face 
is possible for it, but is not feasible for other creatures. 

Freedom within the expanse of awareness, in which nothing need 
be done, 

is impossible with inferior spiritual approaches involving effort 
and achievement, 

but it is easy for one immersed in genuine being on the path, 
equal to space, on which nothing need be done. 

Timelessly awakened, awareness is nonreferential. 

It cannot possibly wander in samsara, yet is the innate condition 
of all possible conditioned states. 

The inferior mind, which believes the perceiver to be real, 
is freed in space — freed within the expanse that has no basis. 

The unique sphere without edges or corners 
cannot possibly manifest dualistically, yet is the innate condition 
of all possible conditioned states. 

The confused mind, which reifies phenomena as being identical 
or different, 

is freed in oneness — freed within the expanse of the nature 
of phenomena. 

Naturally occurring timeless awareness, entailing no causes 
or conditions. 


cannot possibly arise as the five poisons, yet is the innate 
condition of all possible conditioned states. 

Hindrances to enlightenment, which keep one on the course 
of samsara, 

are freed in a way that occurs naturally — freed within the expanse 
of timeless awareness. 

Spontaneous presence, involving no extremes and free of 
limitations, 

cannot possibly be defined by extremes or restrictions, yet is the 
innate condition of all possible conditioned states. 

The negative influences that beset one, fixations on limitations 
that constitute extreme views, 

are freed in the absence of extremes — freed within the expanse 
of spontaneous presence. 

Unceasing emptiness, which has no substance or characteristics, 

cannot possibly arise as anything manifest, yet is the innate 
condition of all possible conditioned states. 

There is freedom in apparent phenomena — freedom in the 
indeterminate expanse. 

There is no differentiation or exclusion, only freedom within the 
expanse of spontaneous presence. 

There is no process of uniting and then separating, only freedom 
in the expanse of the sphere of being. 

Anything can and does arise — free within the indeterminate 
expanse. 

Visual forms manifest — apparent phenomena that are 
naturally free. 

Sounds are audible — heard, yet free in their own ground. 

Whatever forms are seen or sounds are heard, regardless of what 
arises to the five senses, 

there is no object, no “other;” for this is your true face 
beholding itself. 

There is no duality: objects and mind are equally free. 

Since anything can occur within a single state of equalness, 
there is “basic space.” 

Since all positive qualities come about, there is the “ground 
of being.” 


102 1 HE WAY OF ABIDING 


1 HE 1 HEME OF 1NEFFABILITY 103 


Since everything is free, involving no deliberate action, there is the 
“expanse of being.” 

Ineffability is shown to be the heart essence of what is ultimately 
meaningful: 

In the awakened nature of mind, which can be neither affirmed 
nor denied, 

timeless awareness without dualistic perception abides 
as a matter of course. 

In naked awareness, involving no causality, 

abides the unique sphere that is neither positive nor negative. 

In unobstructed awareness, without limit or center, 

the wholly positive enlightened intent of dharmakaya abides 
as a matter of course . 9 

In enlightenment — self-knowing awareness, the heart essence 
of ineffability — 

the totally pure and nonreferential intent of victorious ones 
is clearly evident. 

The very essence of awareness, which is empty yet lucid and can be 
neither affirmed nor denied, is beyond the dualism of outer object and 
inner subject. It is itself free of cause and effect, whether positive or 
negative; there are no karmic consequences or habitual patterns. 
Therefore, this is unique, unobstructed, and wholly positive enlight- 
ened intent. The Great Garuda Soaring in Space states: 

There is nothing to look for in mind; no one can see its 
underlying cause. 

Therefore, it is free of negativity; what purpose could virtue 
serve here? 

My own mode has its origins in the very beginning. 

The ultimate meaning of enlightened intent is shown to lie in the real- 
ization of ineffability: 

As the natural manifestations of awareness, ineffable phenomena 
arise as its unceasing display 

for those immersed in the genuine nature of illusoriness. 


They decide that these are ineffable even as they arise 
and do not react in the slightest with acceptance or rejection. 

They abide in supreme imperturbable rest, which is carefree 10 
with a deep inner spaciousness. 

For those immersed in genuine being, who understand all phenom- 
ena to be naturally manifest illusions, whatever appears arises as an 
ineffable display; so they apply the timeless seal of what is truly mean- 
ingful — a state of imperturbable rest. The detachment of one thus im- 
mersed makes for a more carefree frame of mind than that of ordinary 
happy-go-lucky people who are ensnared by their own cleverness, 
taking everything to be existent or nonexistent. The Great Garuda 
states: 

One will not transcend the three realms with a mind ensnared 
by cleverness. 

Whoever relaxes into the uncontrived perceptions of an innocent 
mind does not dwell in either samsara or nirvana. 

The failure to realize ineffability is shown to be a flaw found in lower 
approaches: 

The immature, fooled 11 by what is ineffable, are like deer 
pursuing a mirage of water for which they thirst. 

Since they invest meaning in conventional labels — 
the language of confusion — 
they are hampered in their respective philosophies, 
misconstruing phenomena as having identity . 12 
Since the eight developmental approaches do not avoid 
the pitfall of ordinary mind, 
the genuine and ultimate heart essence is not seen. 

Deer are tormented by mistaking a mirage for water. Similarly, im- 
mature people are plagued by phenomena they perceive as objects, and 
those who follow the eight lower spiritual approaches are plagued by 
investing the teachings of their respective approaches with identity. 
Thus, they are all alike in not reaching the essence of ultimate reality. 
In this regard, “personal identity” constitutes the ordinary mind’s 
thought process, which is one of arbitrary fixation on dualistic per- 



io4 The Way of Abiding 


Iht IrthMt Ut lJNUtf ADlLll I 


J.U) 


ception and its attendant attachment and aversion. The “identity of 
phenomena” refers to ideas projected by ordinary consciousness onto 
what do not exist as objects — that is, all distortions of fixating on 
various kinds of view, meditation, conduct, and fruition as ends in 
themselves. In these respects, those who are not religious, who hold 
extreme religious views, or who follow the eight lower approaches are 
alike in failing to realize the way of abiding. The Great Garuda states: 

For anyone who posits a nonexistent ground, a goal-oriented 
path, and an end result, 

liberation remains obscure precisely because of these 
suppositions. 

Emptiness as dull or illuminating, as existent or nonexistent, 
as something to be affirmed or denied, as cause or effect — 
there are no such limitations as these four pairs of eight factors. 

This is analogous to the realm of space. 

Any positing of limiting alternatives to strive for 
is similar to a blind bird’s searching for the end of the sky — 
nothing will be found. 

No one could possibly distort the ultimate meaning — 
that nothing can be found. 

It is impossible for this unelaborate 13 object of knowledge to have 
a final limit. 

Ineffability is the nature of what is ultimately meaningful: 

Atiyoga — basic space transcending phenomena, completely 
ineffable — is of the nature of space. 

Moment by moment, there is no wavering from dharmakaya, 
the natural place of rest. 

Throughout the vastness of original basic space , 14 
there is spontaneous presence in supremely blissful 
and natural rest. 

Great perfection, naturally occurring timeless awareness, has 
never existed as anything, but abides as supreme spontaneous pres- 
ence, empty yet lucid. Since it abides as supreme original purity, pri- 
mordial basic space, it is called “the enlightened intent that is dhar- 


makaya in its own natural place of rest.” The Tantra of Heaped Jewels 
states: 

Given ineffable emptiness, the source of phenomena, 
there is abiding in timelessness within the natural basic space 
of the supreme secret. 

The supreme display arose at the outset, 

its mode one of abiding without being objectified. 

In this regard, no one abides, nor is anything created anywhere. 

There is no gathering of abundance in this. 

There is freedom from staying still or not, moving or not. 

Similarly, the state of supreme and timeless emptiness 
is one of ineffability, while its mode is basic space. 

There is no outside or inside in this. 

There is nowhere to look, upward or downward. 

There is no direction in which anyone can objectify this 
in the slightest. 

Whoever is aware of the ultimate meaning of nonacceptance 
has awakened to buddhahood prior to me, Samantabhadra. 

The original awakened state in all its timeless immediacy — 
supreme timeless awareness that does not abide in any 
specific way — 

is such that from the very beginning of the ground of being, 
its mode is one of timeless abiding without deliberate settling. 

People who reify this as a specific state will come to reify 
enlightenment — 

the heart essence of this secret of all buddhas . 15 

It is certain that original purity, the natural state of rest, is enlighten- 
ment — the heart essence, dharmakaya. 

It is shown that one does not awaken to buddhahood by trying to do so: 

If you do not realize secret awareness — that which is ultimately 
meaningful in enlightened intent — 
you will never be freed by that which entails deliberate effort. 

Don’t you know 16 that anything composite is impermanent 
and subject to disintegration? 



io 6 The Way of Abiding 


I titL iHtMt <J£ 1JN tJb AJ31JL1 1 1 LUy 


How can the tight and intricate knot of ordinary body, speech, 
and mind 17 

touch upon the ultimate meaning of the indestructible 
heart essence? 

If you do not understand the ultimate meaning of dharmakaya — 
self-knowing awareness — you will not be freed in this lifetime by 
spiritual teachings that require concerted physical, verbal, and mental 
effort. For spiritual conduct itself then becomes an intricate knot that 
binds you, hampering and obscuring awareness. While you will attain 
some slight happiness as a result of such practice, it is composite and 
so will disintegrate as does a vase [or any composite phenomenon]. 
Therefore, you will always fail to grasp the ultimate meaning of dhar- 
makaya, which is not subject to disintegration; what is produced 
stands in contrast to what is not produced, because what is not pro- 
duced is not subject to disintegration. In that the attainment of inde- 
structible dharmakaya is experienced by abiding in naturalness with- 
out fabrication, all phenomena that are deliberately produced are 
knots that bind you. They will not bring you a single hairsbreadth 
closer to buddhahood, and so can be termed “shackles of the futile 
cycle of existence.” The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Because nothing need be done concerning phenomena, . . . 

The same source continues: 

All thoughts concerning the unerring nature amount to nothing. 

The tight and intricate knot of vows that restrict body 
and speech 

makes it extremely difficult to encounter the ultimate meaning 
of the nature of phenomena. 

The same source deals more extensively with the reasons for this: 

Listen, O great and courageous one! 

Be certain to uphold this transmission, which is from me, 
the all-creating one. 

It is unlike the mahayana approach based on either causes 
or results. 

All phenomena, regardless of how they manifest, 


and natural mind are timelessly of the same nature, 
so do not think of this in terms of traditions based on either 
causes or results. 

When one examines the suchness of natural mind, 
what manifests is the essence, one’s own enlightenment. 

Failing to realize this, individuals ascribe names to things, 
labeling the tangible “relative” and the intangible “ultimate.” 

Ultimate and relative are nondual — a single truth — 
but I would err in supposing this to be real. 

The desire for happiness is the sickness of attachment; 
the absence of desire perpetuates happiness. 

Buddhahood does not happen by being made to happen; 
it is effortlessly and naturally indwelling, and so is 
spontaneously present. 

Rest nonconceptually in this effortless and naturally abiding 
state. 

I advise you not to stray from ineffability, the natural place of rest: 

This being so, if you desire what is sublimely meaningful — 
the way of abiding — 

put aside all factors that, like so many childish games, 
fetter and exhaust you physically, verbally, and mentally. 

The nature of ineffability, the expanse free of elaboration, 
is the nature of phenomena — natural great perfection. 

In expansiveness beyond imagination, in which nothing need 
be done, 

behold the ultimate meaning of supreme, uncontrived evenness. 

Since this is beyond causality and deliberate effort, be decisive. 

Cast aside all contrived activities of body, speech, and mind. These 
activities are like those of children who gather at a playground and 
become consumed by their games, which regardless of how they are 
played are inconclusive, relentless, exhausting, and of little purpose. 
Like an old person basking in the sunshine, expand into a supremely 
blissful state of natural rest, which entails no causality, no acceptance 
or rejection. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Although arbitrary designations signify buddhahood, 

I do not reveal buddhahood to exist in any real sense. 



io8 The Way of Abiding 


Whoever perceives buddhahood to be something existent 
will not find it to be other than basic space, the nature 
of phenomena. 

Do not look for buddhahood; rather, realize that nothing need 
be done about natural mind. 

If examined, it is found to be timelessly lucid yet ineffable. 

It does not manifest as substance, yet is by its very nature 
all-pervasive. 

Such is the manifestation of the essence of what is. 

In mahayana approaches based on either causes or results, 
in which “evenness” is something other than this, 
by various means — renouncing, progressing, training, 
and consecrating — 

one strays from natural mind, the nature of phenomena, 
in which nothing need be done. 

To ignore what is inherent and seek afar for something else, 
eagerly trying to arouse the bliss that requires no effort — 
there is no greater debility than this. 

Undistracted meditative absorption is the stake that tethers one 
to reification. 

With respect to what is and always has been, there is no 
distraction, nothing to be lost. 

Undistracted meditative absorption is the harbinger of hope. 
Such are the mahayana approaches based on either causes 
or results, which reveal that which is provisional . 18 
With respect to what is and always has been, there is no 
distraction, no loss. 

This vanquishes the antidotes that entail all manner of effort 
and achievement. 

If I, the all-creating one, were to disclose my transmission 
to teachers who expound on causality and to their retinues, 
they would misinterpret it and protest, “But results must come 
from causes!” 

A yogin involved in meditative absorption who desires 
buddhahood 

abandons uncontrived immersion in genuine being by desiring 
that absorption. 

The uncontrived genuine state is the nature of everything. 
There is no buddhahood apart from this nature. 

To use the term “buddhahood” is simply to use an arbitrary 
designation. 


The Theme of Ineffability 109 

The nature of phenomena requires nothing other than itself — 
natural mind. 

Natural mind, uncontrived, is defined as dharmakaya. 

In being uncontrived, it is timelessly beyond origination, 

so, in the ultimate sense of nonorigination, there is nothing 
to strive for or achieve. 

That which requires no action will not be accomplished 
by effort or achievement. 

Now, the section on revealing the key point of ineffability is concluded: 

Self-knowing awareness , 19 involving no perception of outer 
object and inner subject, 

has no time or place and is beyond phenomena that originate 
or cease. 

It is pure like space, and so entails no provisional spiritual 
approach . 20 

Since all thoughts 21 of this as ultimately existent are mistaken, 

avoid any pitfall or obscuration that comes from misconstruing 
phenomena as having identity. 

In the indivisible and wholly positive realm, be decisive 
in supreme and infinite emptiness. 

Stand firm in the nature of phenomena, which is without 
transition or change. 

In the primordial realm of basic space that does not abide 
in any specific way, 

the superficial layers of view are cut through incisively, 

and the key point in its entirety is revealed to be ineffability. 

Regarding all phenomena perceived as outer objects or inner sub- 
jects — the world of appearances and possibilities, whether of samsara 
or nirvana — however they manifest, there is decisiveness in aware- 
ness, which is noncomposite like space. There is decisiveness that they 
are in themselves ineffable, being the natural manifestations of 
innately pure forms of emptiness. All that manifests is empty yet ap- 
parent, and this manifestation is the simultaneity of awareness and 
emptiness. In actuality, the key point being revealed is that naturally 
occurring timeless awareness — empty yet lucid and naturally unsul- 
lied — is the supreme state without basis and free of origin, with all 


no The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Ineffability iii 


that manifests being clearly apparent yet ineffable. The Six Expanses 
states: 

Emptiness — the absence of the elaborations that apply 
to sense objects. 

Lucidity — beyond the limitations of existence and nonexistence. 
Mindfulness — endowed with the power of total recall. 

The manifestation of apparent phenomena — the path of direct 
experience. 

All this is beyond the numerous attempts to characterize it. 

Not created through mantra, it is timeless perfection itself, 
totally free of causes and conditions, 
beyond 22 all distortions of view or meditation, 
without limits, without any reference to a center, 
without specific manifestation, and without sense objects. 

There is no deity, nor any mantra. 

There are no phenomena, for all labeling 23 is transcended. 

There is no enemy, nor any friend. 

There is no body, nor anything that manifests 
to the sense faculties. 

Phenomena do not manifest through thought. 

Nothing exists, for there is nothing to reify as anything. 

I do not exist, nor does my retinue. 

There is no basic space, nor any embodiment of awareness. 

There is no virtue, nor inevitable consequences 
of harmful actions. 

There is no life force, so no idea of it being cut off. 

There are no accumulations, nor objects to be amassed 
anywhere. 

There are no buddhas, nor ordinary beings. 

There is no location, nor even emptiness. 

There are no skillful teachings, nor any retinue to listen. 

There are no objects. 

Even the three times do not exist, 
nor does a continuum of the three times. 

Therefore, in that nothing whatsoever exists, 

I manifest as undivided and indivisible. 

My realm is beyond specific levels of realization. 

Since there is no differentiation among my deeds and modes 
of conduct, 


in the equalness of the three times 

my realm is ineffable, free of the idea of any basis. 

With this, I have finished my presentation revealing the key point 
to be the ineffability of all phenomena. 

Discerning the Implications 

Now the implications of ineffability can be discerned. Within the con- 
text of ineffability lies the integrated mandala of awareness: 

Thus, with the key point of ineffability having been revealed, 
one implication is that awareness — a state of imperturbable rest 
not cultivated in meditation — 
can be discerned in the absence of acceptance or rejection 
of whatever arises. 

The vast expanse is the integrated mandala of mind. 

In the immediacy of understanding any phenomena that manifest 
to be ineffable, rest imperturbably with whatever arises, without con- 
trivance or distortion. To relax without acceptance or rejection is to 
discern the implications of unobstructed awareness as a unique state 
of perfection, and so, given the ineffability of apparent phenomena 
and awareness, there is integration in timeless emptiness. The Great 
Garuda states: 

The ground of being is total freedom, timeless purity beyond 
characteristics. 

Its effortless freedom, in which nothing need be done, removes 
the stumbling block of ordinary mind. 

The implications of the threefold encounter — the display that 
manifests as sense objects — 

can be discerned within the “interval” between objects and mind, 
with nothing that arises being abandoned. 

Meditative stability is shown to be spontaneously present by nature: 

Vajra basic space — the supremely blissful state of natural rest — 
is sublime meditative stability, spontaneously present without 
having to be cultivated. 



ii2 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Ineffability 113 


Always present, like the course of a great river, 

it is self-evident if there is uncontrived equipoise. 

Meditative stability as naturally abiding awareness, ever-present 
and like the flow of a river, becomes evident when one who is im- 
mersed in genuine being abides in the supreme and uncontrived state 
of genuine rest. The All-Illuminating Sphere states: 

The supreme bliss that I have revealed, naturally occurring 
and nondual, 

is free of limitations — of whether or not there is something 
on which to meditate. 

In realizing the ultimate meaning of self-knowing awareness, 
imbued with the power of sublime knowing, 

there is complete purity, beyond any idea of whether or not 
this is meditation. 

Nondual supreme bliss abides within one’s own natural state. 

Resting without effort ensures that one does not unite with 
and then separate from it. 

In being uninterrupted, it is similar to the river Ganges. 

I reveal this to benefit those of the very highest acumen. 

With the discovery of natural meditative stability, the absence of error 
or obscuration is one of the implications that can be discerned: 

The nature of phenomena, at rest just as it is, is similar to space. 

Since there is no transition or change, there is no question 
of whether or not there is distraction. 

The immensity of sublime basic space, which does not form 
and then disintegrate, 

is not within the range of finite experience that can be 
characterized by words. 

Those immersed in genuine being — for whom naturally arising 
awareness wells forth as the expanse of sublime knowing, 

whose minds are not pedantic even though they have heard many 
teachings, 

and who experience what is indescribable and beyond 
imagination — 

decide that this is not a matter of anything being characterized 
or not. 


Since neither meditation nor anything on which to meditate can 
be found, 

there is no need to slay the foes of lethargy and agitation. 

One immersed in genuine being, who perceives that awareness 
does not waver from its natural state of rest and who abides therein, 
thus discovers natural meditative stability. At that point the mind is 
not held within a specific frame of reference. Anything that arises does 
so without straying from meditative stability as the natural state of 
rest. Then, with that arising comes lucid consciousness; with mind 
abiding, meditative absorption is discovered. Thus, calm abiding and 
profound insight are united and there is natural purity, without errors 
or obscurations in meditative stability — lethargy, agitation, and so 
forth — having to be abandoned. This discovery of natural meditative 
stability is not a matter of knowledge that relies on words or conven- 
tional labels, on hearing or explaining. Those who realize and remain 
united with this may be those who have undergone thorough training 
in previous lifetimes and for whom in this life the expanse of sublime 
knowing wells forth to encompass the definitive meaning of the teach- 
ings. They may be those who, through the blessings of a guru, have 
been directly introduced to unobstructed awareness. They may be 
those who have thoroughly completed the process of hearing teach- 
ings on the ultimate heart essence. They may be those whose minds 
are inherently at ease and rest naturally. However, this is not the prov- 
ince of anyone else. Deep Immersion in Awareness states: 

Resting just as it does in its own place, the nature of phenomena 
is similar to space. 

Since awareness undergoes no transition or change, there is no 
question of whether or not there is distraction. 

The immensity of sublime basic space, which does not form 
and then disintegrate, 

is not within the range of finite experience that can be 
characterized with words. 

Those immersed in genuine being — for whom naturally arising 
awareness wells forth as the expanse of sublime knowing, 

whose minds are not pedantic even though they have heard many 
teachings, 



ii4 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Ineffability 115 


and who have gained realization within the indescribable 
expanse — 

decide that this is not a matter of anything being characterized 
or not. 

Since neither meditation nor anything on which to meditate 
can be found, 

there is no need to slay the foes of lethargy, agitation, and 
discursive thought. 

You might think that I am guilty of plagiarism, since this scriptural 
citation is so similar to my source verse, but this is not so. There are 
similar cases, such as the opening eulogy in The Source Verses on the 
Middle Way, which is also found in The Augmentation of the Rare 
and Precious . Several lines from The Treasury of Higher Teachings — 
for example, “ . . . seeming to have the flesh and blood body of the 
previous lifetime . . . ” — are to be found in The Tantra of the AU- 
Illuminating Sphere . As well, several lines from Haribhadra’s Minor 
Commentary — such as, “Ah! Within the context of various main- 
stream traditions . . . ” — also appear in The Elucidation of the Twenty 
Thousand Stanzas . Using the stylistic device called “the harmonious 
integration of words and meaning,” I have thus adorned my text, 
since at times this inspires confidence in these profound topics. 

It is shown that there is always natural abiding within the basic space 
of dharmakaya: 

Since the heart essence 24 is ineffability (the timeless freedom 
of apparent phenomena and mind), 

the expanse of evenness (the nature of phenomena in which 
confusion settles out naturally) 

abides uninterruptedly in the realm of dharmakaya. 

There is no division between things arising and being free; 
they converge in a single blissful expanse. 

In arising, they arise naturally, holding to their own place. 

In abiding, they abide naturally, holding to their own place. 

In being freed, they are freed naturally, holding to then- 
own place. 

Everything is naturally free, arising from the expanse 
of the nature of phenomena, 


and thus does not stray elsewhere, being simply the display 
of dharmakaya. 

Apparent phenomena, naturally manifest and experienced 
unconditionally, are the natural expressions of emptiness . 25 

They abide in the ultimate heart essence, being neither positive 
nor negative . 26 

All that manifests outwardly, although appearing to originate, re- 
main, and cease within the expanse of awareness, does not stray from 
the context of emptiness. None of the reflections in a mirror can occur 
apart from its surface; if you examine them, no forms exist, only the 
surface of the mirror. Inwardly, conscious thoughts — which arise, re- 
main, and are freed — do not stray from the scope of awareness; this is 
analogous to waves on the ocean that arise, remain, and cease, yet are 
not apart from the water. Nothing deviates from the spontaneously 
present expanse of the three kayas — dharmakaya as the natural place 
of rest, the unceasing avenue for the simultaneous arising of emptiness 
and lucidity. The Direct Encounter with the Three Kayas states: 

Regardless of what is present, it is present within its 
own context. 

However it goes, it goes within its own context. 

In the basic space of enlightenment, innately there is no coming 
or going. 

The embodiment of victorious ones neither comes nor goes. 

Whatever is described is described within its own context. 

Whatever is expressed is expressed within its own context. 

In awakened mind, innately there is no description or expression. 

The speech of victorious ones of the three times entails no 
description or expression. 

However thinking occurs, it occurs within its own context. 

However concepts 27 occur, they occur within their own context. 

In awakened mind, there is never any thinking or concepts. 

The mind of victorious ones of the three times is 
free of conceptualization. 

Nirmanakaya is ineffable yet occurs in any way whatsoever. 

Sambhogakaya is the richness of being enjoying itself. 



ii 6 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Ineffability 117 


Since there is no substantial basis to this, there is dharmakaya. 

The fruition is the spontaneously present expanse of the three 
kayas. 

Another implication that can be discerned is that no trace is left in the 
encounter between mind and apparent phenomena: 

Whatever appears and whatever arises, 
all things that proliferate and abide as dynamic expressions 
of awareness — 

such as the five emotional poisons — 
no matter how they arise, even as they do so 
there is recognition, perfection of their dynamic energy, 
and their natural fading, leaving no trace. 

One implication is that equipoise constitutes a state of 
imperturbable rest in the “interval” between objects 
and mind. 

Another implication is that, like a bird in flight, naturally 
occurring timeless awareness leaves no trace. 

Another implication is that everything is of one basic space, 
like waves on water. 

Phenomena are forever discerned within the context of the 
supreme secret, 

and so it is in the nature of things that freedom comes about 
simply through an understanding of this key point. 

Whatever inner thought processes arise regarding the myriad outer 
array of the five kinds of sense objects, at that point there is recogni- 
tion of them arising in response to those objects. There is perfection of 
the energy inherent in that arising, and because one remains in this 
state, thoughts are freed as they fade naturally, leaving no trace. The 
level of dharmakaya will be attained as the natural place of rest by vir- 
tue of discerning the implications gleaned in any one of three ways: by 
resting imperturbably with whatever arises, by allowing it to occur in 
a spacious manner, or by relaxing with whatever arises in the imme- 
diacy of apparent phenomena manifesting. 

These three are pivotal for such reasons as the following: If there is 
no such recognition, there is only a vague 28 acknowledgment. If one 
watches thoughts without their dynamic energy perfecting itself and 


they fade, they are incapable of serving any greater purpose. Or if 
they do not fade naturally, one is not directly cutting through them. 

Furthermore, with respect to naturally arising awareness, rest with- 
out distraction or effort, utterly relaxed in expansive openness, with- 
out mundane desire for bliss. The Great Garuda states: 

Abandon desire for bliss, for this harms the mind; 

rely on resting naturally, free of anything needing to be done 
regarding samsara or nirvana. 

As for the magical display of mind and apparent phenomena — 

“This is self,” “This is other” — 

the hindrances of mental stirring, perceiving, thinking, and 
fixating are dispelled, 

and so there is imperturbable rest that defies all attempts at 
verbal expression. 

The implications of whatever manifests as the miraculous display 
of ordinary, conceptual mind 

can be discerned within the “interval,” free of characterization, 
between conceptual mind 

and the objects that constitute its function. 

Another implication that can be discerned is that the vast expanse of 
being is spacious awareness: 

At any point, within the vast expanse of enlightened intent — 
self-knowing awareness — 

phenomena, without being better or worse, arise equally, 
abide equally, and are freed equally. 

Since there is no phenomenon that is unequal, nonabiding, 
and not freed, 

another implication that can be discerned is that enlightenment 
is a spacious and timeless expanse. 

Within the expanse of space, the universe manifests, abides, disin- 
tegrates, and becomes void, naturally in each case; still, it does not 
waver from the realm of space. Likewise, one discerns the implica- 
tions here by becoming familiar with the fully encompassing realiza- 
tion that all phenomena arise within the expanse of awareness, abide 
within it, and are freed within it — all without wavering from this 



n8 ihe Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Ineffability 119 


unique state of empty awareness. Deep Immersion in Awareness states: 

When arising, things arise equally, without being better 
or worse. 

When abiding, they abide equally, without being better 
or worse. 

When freed they are freed equally, without being better 
or worse. 

Although they arise unequally, they arise from the basic space 
of their equalness. 

Although they abide unequally, they abide in the basic space 
of their equalness. 

Although they are freed unequally, they are freed within the 
basic space of their equalness. 

You might wonder, since it was cited earlier, whether this quota- 
tion is repetitive, but under the circumstances it is not. Similar repeti- 
tions occur in the major commentary on the Kalachakra cycle entitled 
White Lotus , where there are three repetitions of a citation from The 
Recitation of the Names of Manjushri , and in Clear Words , where 
each quotation selected from The Discourse on the Most Majestic 
State of Meditative Absorption is cited several times. 

Another implication that can be discerned is that causality is tran- 
scended: 

From awareness , 29 uncreated and spontaneously present, 

arises enlightened intent, a natural state of rest that is effortless 
and spacious. 

Awakened mind, beyond any causes and effects, whether positive 
or negative, 

is discerned within the realm of the unchanging nature 
of phenomena. 

Meditation and other factors are distortions in that they entail 
causality; being impure, they involve nothing but effort and struggle. 
Having decided at this point that awareness entails no causality, one 
reaches equilibrium without having to do anything. The All-Creating 
Monarch states: 


I, the all-creating one, am beyond causality. 

Beyond causality, I am beyond the entire range of finite 
experience. 

The nature of phenomena, which transcends everything, 
is awakened mind. 

Awakened mind is the heart essence of all phenomena. 

Embracing the Larger Scope 

Now, the larger scope is embraced. It is embraced as timeless empti- 
ness, primordially pure: 

Spacious enlightened intent, whose very nature is ineffable, 
embraces all phenomena without exception within its scope. 

Just as the universe is subsumed within the compass of space, 
so phenomena, naturally manifest, are subsumed within supreme 
and timeless emptiness. 

The entire universe of appearances and possibilities is subsumed 
within the realm of space. Likewise, the five kinds of outer sense ob- 
jects (which manifest naturally), as well as the inner mind (in which 
thoughts arise and are freed), are embraced within naturally occur- 
ring timeless awareness. This, in turn, is subsumed within the supreme 
and naturally pristine state of emptiness. The fact that nothing wavers 
from the context of timeless emptiness, free of origin, is what is meant 
by the phrase “encompassed within the wholly positive expanse.” 
The Six Expanses states: 

Using words that reveal it without error, let me present the defini- 
tive conclusion concerning the ultimate meaning of natural great 
perfection. The form, speech, and mind of all buddhas are the 
manifestation of Samantabhadra, which is totally pure by nature. 

In the equalness of the three times, this is revealed to beings in the 
six states of ordinary existence. In that they are no different from 
my own manifestation, this is called “unification within the single 
expanse of many subjective perceptions.” All phenomena are free 
of negative concepts and dissolve into the expanse of me, Saman- 
tabhadra, who is free of elaboration. Since my manifestation 
arises naturally in the expanse of being, which can be likened to an 



i zo 1 he Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Ineffability izi 


ocean, all mandalas are timelessly and naturally encompassed 
within this expanse. They come together in the single expanse of 
the great seal, which timelessly and naturally does not itself abide 
in any specific way. 

Great and courageous one, my manifestation is the manifesta- 
tion of what is itself nonmanifest. Since it is capable of pervading 
and imbuing what is visible and audible — all forms and sounds — 
it constitutes what is called the “expanse of the secret heart es- 
sence,” occurring naturally as the form aspect of Samantabhadra. 

My manifestation is in every way ineffable, yet arises as any- 
thing whatsoever. This constitutes what is called the “expanse en- 
compassing the pervasive and naturally pure heart essence,” oc- 
curring naturally as the speech aspect of Samantabhadra. 

My manifestation arises naturally as the epitome of all that 
can be described or imagined in any way. This constitutes what is 
called the “expanse encompassing the heart essence of naturally 
empty awareness,” occurring naturally as the mind aspect of 
Samantabhadra. 

O great and courageous one, all buddhas are beings who 
know the equalness of the three times and are said to “come to- 
gether in the single expanse” of me, Samantabhadra. 

If no attempt is made to contrive suchness, 
then like the sky unobscured by clouds, 
there is ever-lucid timeless radiance. 

In the same way, just as in the clear sky 

the orb of the sun shines naturally, 

so the kaya of the immaculate essence — 

the definitive unifying heart essence — is in fact my mandala. 

In that all objective phenomena are encompassed therein, 
all attempts to quantify the nature of phenomena come 
to an end. 

All of this is my, Samantabhadra’s, mind. 

Since I — buddhahood that entails no concepts — 
am free of the fixations of even subtle distortions, 
unobscured radiance manifests overtly. 

Since phenomena cannot be perceived through 
phenomena, 

I am not an object to be perceived. 


O great and courageous one, all substance is the display of Sa- 
mantabhadra. For this reason I, the buddha Samantabhadra, for 
the sake of beings everywhere, ensure manifold activity in nondu- 
ality, so that they attain the meditative stability called “the trans- 
mission in which all attempts at description fall away.” They are 
then in nondual union with nonmanifest space. 

Great and courageous one, my, Samantabhadra’s, deeds are 
such that they “occur as the epitome of the three kayas.” This is 
to attain the view known as “timeless awareness, the great perfec- 
tion” — the fruition of the completely pure cause, buddhahood. 

At that point, since I occur naturally, without being caused, 
there manifest on a vast scale the timeless awareness of enlight- 
ened form, the display of enlightened speech, and the deeds of en- 
lightened mind. The unchanging vision of timeless awareness 
manifests naturally. The limitations of conceptual elaboration 
vanish naturally through the process of phenomena resolving. 

This occurs naturally for those with spacious minds. At the same 
time, one attains mastery over the manifestations of the incor- 
ruptible heart essence and becomes “Samantabhadra, master of 
all mandalas.” 

The larger scope that transcends cause and effect, effort and achieve- 
ment, is revealed: 

Samsara is just a label: cause and effect, effort and achievement, 
are transcended. 

There are no positive or negative actions that benefit or harm — 
the context of emptiness. 

Liberation is just a label: nirvana does not exist. 

There is nothing to be sought or achieved through 
the ten attributes. 

The ultimate meaning of fundamentally unconditioned awareness 
is that it entails no causes or effects, whether positive or negative. Yet 
there are those who rely on scriptural sources dealing with provisional 
meanings, who hold and demonstrate causality to be existent, and 
who will never be liberated, because they remain obscured by the dis- 
tortions of all-consuming delusion. One should realize this awareness 



i22 The Way of Abiding 


to be natural great perfection, beyond causes and effects, whether 
positive or negative. The Great Garuda states: 

The nature of mind, primordially uncreated, 
is revealed to be the ultimate heart essence of the ordinary 
conscious mind. 

Sublime knowing and the words it employs uphold the natural 
truth of this. 

To be skilled with words and to emphasize causality — 
what else could this lead to but an unending state of torment? 

Action and speech are contrived, and the mind indulges 
in labeling. 

These serve only to obscure the authentic nature of phenomena. 

What other “antidote” could be greater than this? 

Therefore, whenever there is freedom from contrivance, 
from the machinations of samsara and nirvana, 
this is great perfection itself. 

What could there be other than this? 

The view of great perfection is to realize that the ten attributes — 
view, samaya, empowerment, mandala, levels, paths, activity, timeless 
awareness, fruition, and the nature of phenomena — are attributes 
whose nature is ineffable. The AU-Creating Monarch states: 

Awakened mind is like space. 

In the nature of phenomena — the nature of mind, like space — 
there is no view to be cultivated, no samaya to be upheld, 
no effort to be made in enlightened activity, nothing to obscure 
timeless awareness, 

no levels on which to train, no paths to be traversed, 
no subtle factors, no duality, no dependent relationship. 

There is no definitive or conclusive statement concerning mind. 

Since it is beyond value judgments, there is no specific instruction 
to follow or decision to be made. 

This is the view of awakened mind, great perfection. 

The same source continues: 

O great and courageous one, 

as for the statement “There is no view to be cultivated,” 


The Theme of Ineffability 123 

because there is no source of phenomena other than me 
and because there is no way for me to look at myself, 

I do not reveal any object that is not me. 

Therefore, I show that “there is no view to be cultivated.” 

As for the statement “There is no samaya to be upheld,” 
one’s mind cannot deny the fact that it cannot safeguard 
anything. 

Since there is naturally occurring timeless awareness, 
there is nothing to uphold. 

The statement “There is no effort to be made in enlightened 
activity” 

is made because great perfection is tunelessly beyond causality. 
Enlightened activity is held to accomplish results from causes. 

But because great perfection is not held to be a result 
and enlightened activity is timelessly effortless, 

I show that “there is no effort to be made in enlightened activity.” 

As for the statement “There are no paths to be traversed,” 
for ordinary beings of the three realms, to awaken 
to buddhahood in the three times 
the journey is one of traversing the path of awakening mind. 

But in mind there is no duality of buddhas and ordinary beings, 
and so there are no paths for mind to traverse in mind. 

As for the statement “There are no levels on which to train,” 
from the perspective of awakened mind, the basic space 
of phenomena, 

to hold that liberation comes from training is to be involved 
with causality. 

From the perspective of awakened mind, the basic space 
of phenomena, 

I do not proclaim that accomplishment is achieved through 
contrived training. 

As for the statement “Timeless awareness does not conceive 
of objects,” 

any object could only be naturally occurring timeless awareness, 
and timeless awareness cannot be the object of timeless 
awareness. 



i24 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Ineffability 125 


It is shown that, ultimately, within the larger scope nothing need be 
done: 

Striving again and again after phenomena that are exhausting 
is like a child making sand castles, for these things are subject 
to destruction. 

Further, everything entailing effort — all that involves cause 
and effect, virtue and harm — 

is timelessly embraced within the larger scope of ineffability. 

Sand castles are built by children in their playground and are then 
subject to destruction. Everything that involves body, speech, and 
mind in effort and achievement is similar to this, for things are held to 
be established on some relative level and nonexistent on some ulti- 
mate level — as in developing a visualization and then gradually dis- 
solving it into emptiness. For one immersed in genuine being, all 
causes and effects, whether positive or negative, are subsumed within 
the supreme state beyond all vacillation and effort, in which nothing 
need be done. The Great Garuda states: 

There is nothing to be looked at concerning mind, nor can 
anyone see its underlying cause. 

Therefore, in the absence of harmfulness, what effect can 
virtue have? 

And The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Because nothing need be done concerning phenomena, 
one proceeds through the doorway of effortlessness. 

The same source continues: 

O great and courageous one, 

desiring something great, one makes efforts in meditation 
and other spiritual practice, 

but this greatness will not be achieved through such effort. 

This greatness occurs naturally; it is forever great. 

If one meditates, one contrives the intent of buddhahood. 

Those who contrive the intent of buddhahood 
will not encounter their own nature for eons. 


O great and courageous one, 

do not cultivate meditative absorption with ordinary mind. 

Do not think of timeless awareness as some object. 

There is no need to repeat invocations and essence mantras aloud. 
There is no need to perform ritual hand gestures. 

Do not use the mind to complicate or simplify its nature. 

The absence of wavering is spontaneously ensured by abiding 
in the natural state. 

In abiding naturally, there is nothing for anyone to contrive. 
Abiding on this level just as it is, without effort, 
reveals this to be the most sublime of activities — that nothing 
need be done. 

Having come to understand the ultimate meaning of this, 
do not act; 

in not acting, abide in suchness. 

Whoever abides in suchness ensures that there is no error 
or contrivance. 

“That” refers to the unerring and uncontrived nature; 

“ness” applies this unerring quality to the essence itself. 

There is no “buddhahood,” only suchness. 

The same source continues: 

Not understanding what simply is, without contrivance, 
some consecrate the universe to purify it. 

Through all the rituals that contribute to enlightenment, 
the deity of timeless awareness that is cultivated in meditation 
is caused to manifest. 

Once offerings are made for a short time, the deity is requested 
to depart, 

and then meditative absorption ends. 

Beginning and ending meditation over and over is like children 
building sand castles. 

This contradicts what is truly meaningful in me — what simply is, 
uncontrived. 

This is embraced as the absence of causality and deliberate effort: 

Now , 30 those who are immersed in the genuine heart essence 
of ati — 


i2 6 The Way of Abiding 


having decided that all teachings on causality, which are designed 
to guide the immature , 31 

are paths for the less fortunate who progress upward in stages — 
embrace the enlightened intent that is the very essence, 
the ultimate meaning that transcends phenomena, 
within the larger scope of space, in which nothing need be done. 

During childhood, one’s experience is that of play, while in old age 
this is merely tiring. Likewise, as long as the scope of one’s mind re- 
mains limited, one’s experience is that of the eight lower spiritual 
approaches, while when one’s scope is superior the quintessential ex- 
perience is that of ati — dwelling in the utter relaxation in which phe- 
nomena are resolved. With the realization that dharmakaya is present 
spontaneously, one abides with nothing to seek or achieve through the 
ten attributes. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

O great and courageous one, 

awakened mind is the most majestic of the majestic. 

As for what is created 32 by all-creating awakened mind, 
nothing that is created is other than awakened mind. 

Awakened mind is timelessly unerring; 
since it is timeless, there is never any error. 

In the absence of error, things cannot be cloaked in truth 
or falsity. 

All causes, conditions, effects, effort, and achievement 
are transcended. 

There is no greater hindrance to enlightenment 
than being unaware that effort and achievement have already 
been transcended 

and so believing that transcendence is accomplished through 
meditation involving effort, achievement, and activity. 

Without deliberately abiding, without thinking, without 
intending anything whatsoever, 
abide naturally in the nonconceptual state of evenness. 

Since this is timelessly so, the ordinary mind of effort does 
not occur. 

Those who dwell in supreme bliss embody the heart essence 
of all phenomena. 

They do not distinguish between their own welfare and that 
of all others. 


The Theme of Ineffability 127 


The unifying essence that encompasses everything 
cannot be viewed, yet is evident in the minds of buddhas 
of the three times. 

Unobscured, it manifests in the minds of all beings. 

Listen, O great and courageous one! 

I, the all-creating one, have already ensured benefit for beings. 
Others do not need to create the benefit I have already ensured. 
Teachings that rely on anything else are not my transmission. 
Relative reality is timelessly ensured, perfect within me. 

It is timelessly ensured, so there is no need to cultivate view 
in meditation. 

It is timelessly and totally pure, so there is no need 
to observe samaya. 

Since everything abides timelessly on the level of enlightenment, 
there is no need to train on the levels of masters of awareness 
or on the ten levels of realization. 

Because effortlessness is timeless and spontaneous, 
it is never necessary to engage in enlightened activities that 
involve effort. 

Since naturally occurring timeless awareness does not conceive 
of objects, 

it is unnecessary to seek awareness — timeless awareness — 
through such objects. 

Because supremely blissful dharmakaya is the oneness of mind, 
there is no linear time. 

In particular, all abundant qualities and all occasions and 
contexts are identical, 

and because everything is oneness, all is perfect in me. 

Since all is perfect in me — great perfection — 

view, conduct, activity, samaya, levels, and paths, 

as has been explained, do not require effort or achievement. 

To be unaware of that and to engage in effort and achievement 
conflict with what is ultimately meaningful — the transcendence 
of causality — 

and so one will not encounter the meaning of supreme bliss — 
that nothing need be done. 

Owing to the diseases of effort and achievement, awareness has 
already gone unrecognized. 

Therefore, great perfection beyond causality 



iz8 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Ineffability 129 


is not within the reach of those who lack good fortune, 

so they should avail themselves of teachings on causality. 

The same source continues: 

Those who lack the good fortune to appreciate the ultimate 
meaning of great perfection 

are enmeshed in provisional teachings that deal with causality. 

If I revealed timeless transcendence that is beyond finite 
experience 

to those without good fortune who delight in causality, 
they would misinterpret it. 

If I revealed it, they would thus denigrate their own minds 

and would be reborn in the six states, to wander forever 
in samsara. 

It is shown that one is misled by deliberate action: 

Deliberate action misleads — look at the confusing appearances 
of samsara. 

Effort corrupts — think about the machinations of suffering. 

With virtue and harm, there is an uninterrupted flow of happiness 
and suffering . 33 

Karma is reinforced, causing one to wander high and low 
through samsara. 

There is no opportunity to escape the ocean of conditioned 
existence. 

Regardless of what spiritual practice one undertakes physically, 
verbally, or mentally, nonrecognition blinds one to the ultimate mean- 
ing of awareness. This is illustrated by the fact that what was pro- 
duced in previous lifetimes accounts for the variety of apparent phe- 
nomena based on confusion that manifest now. 

Any efforts one makes poison one’s perception of the essence of 
awareness. Look at the hell beings, tormented spirits, animals, and 
other beings who are reborn and wander in samsara owing to the 
karma of having engaged in effort. Even though one acts in a positive 
way, one merely attains the better aspects of samsara — that is, the 


bodies and pleasures of gods and humans — only to have these fall 
away, so that one continues to wander in samsara. Negative actions 
result in the suffering of the three lower realms of rebirth, prolonging 
one’s wandering in samsara. There is no opportunity for escape. The 
Great Garuda states: 

One will not transcend the three realms with a mind ensnared 
by cleverness . 34 

And The All-Creating Monarch states: 

If that greatest of medicines — resting in equipoise without 
wavering — has not been ensured, 
even the causes that lead to higher rebirth will be sullied 
by afflictive emotions. 

Wandering in samsara forever, one will never discover 
flawless peace. 

The fact that nothing need be done is embraced as the intent of dhar- 
makaya: 

When the flow of virtue and nonvirtue is interrupted, 
if there is no union with and then separation from the nature 
of phenomena, 

there is immersion in genuine being as the definitive 
and supreme secret. 

One effortlessly 35 reaches the primordial level of being, 
having gained the majestic palace of dharmakaya — timeless rest. 

One immersed in genuine being who, without engaging in any 
positive or negative actions, does not waver from the scope of aware- 
ness, which is empty yet lucid and pure like space, is said to have 
“gained the majestic palace of dharmakaya.” The Heaped Jewels 
speaks of abiding in the natural place of rest, that of original purity in 
which nothing need be done: 

The nature of phenomena, without foundation, 
resting without effort — how truly marvelous! 



130 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Ineffability 13 i 


And The All-Creating Monarch states: 

However things appear, they are identical in suchness. 

Let no one meddle with this! 

In majestic, uncontrived evenness 

abides the nonconceptual intent of dharmakaya. 

The main point is summarized: 

Therefore, all things that are reified by the designation of names 
and meanings, 

as well as reactions based on distinctions of better or worse, 
and deliberate efforts involving causality — 

even as 36 all these phenomena manifest, they are ineffable 
phenomena, 

like space, in which nothing need be done. 

For whoever understands this, all phenomena are embraced 
within the larger scope of ineffability. 

The natural manifestations of awareness — all apparent phenom- 
ena, descriptions, and labels of the world of appearances and possi- 
bilities, whether of samsara or nirvana, as well as the ground, path, 
and fruition — are such that their manifesting does not entail their be- 
ing existent. This is similar to the reflection of the moon on water, the 
appearance of which does not establish its being the moon. Moreover, 
awareness, empty yet lucid and unobstructed, is epitomized by time- 
lessly empty space and is understood to be a state that is not con- 
trived, a subtle lucidity that is not sullied, a natural lucidity that is not 
cultivated in meditation. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

O great and courageous one, if you want to accomplish 
natural mind, 

you can do it only by not wanting to, 

so do not try to dwell in nonconceptual evenness. 

Abide naturally in the mode that has nothing to do 
with acceptance or rejection. 

Abide as a matter of course in the state that does not waver. 

Mind is the essence of being, just as it is. 

All phenomena are accomplished in suchness. 


Given what simply is, do not meddle with anything. 

Given the essence itself, do not try to achieve anything else. 

If they were to search, even victorious ones would not find 
anything that is other than basic space. 

Since it is already ensured, there is no need to try to create it now. 

Since it is already accomplished, there is no need to try to achieve 
it now. 

Rest nonconceptually in equipoise, without thinking about 
anything. 

Listen, O great and courageous one! 

Buddhas of previous generations, moreover, 

had nothing to contrive or seek out, only their own minds. 

They did not contrive what simply is. 

They did not cultivate conceptual meditative absorption. 
Accomplishment came about through nonconceptual mind itself. 

For those who abide now or have yet to appear, 
accomplishment also comes about through nonconceptual 
evenness. 

Coming to the Decisive Experience 

Now, with a certainty in one’s mind that brings one to the definitive 
conclusion that all phenomena are by nature ineffable, one comes to 
the decisive experience of ineffability. First, one comes to an experi- 
ence of deciding that the limitations one reifies are ineffable: 

The decisive experience of ineffability is the ultimate 
heart essence. 

Since all phenomena of the world of appearances and 
possibilities, whether of samsara or nirvana, 
are ineffable by nature, they are beyond existence. 

Since the way in which they manifest is unceasing, they are 
beyond nonexistence. 

Since they are neither existent nor nonexistent, they are beyond 
being both. 

Since there is no such duality, they are beyond being neither. 

Since they neither “are” nor “are not,” the ultimate heart essence 
cannot be characterized as some “thing,” for it transcends all 
imagination and expression. 



132 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Ineffability 


133 


Since awareness and all phenomena that manifest within its scope 
are ineffable by nature , 37 they are beyond being existent. Since their 
mode of manifestation is unceasing, they are beyond being nonexist- 
ent. Since they have never been both existent and nonexistent, they 
are beyond being both. Since it is also not the case that they are nei- 
ther, they transcend even this conventional fiction. Whatever mani- 
fests, whatever arises, even as it does so there is abiding in the enlight- 
ened intent in which these four limitations are pristine by nature, as is 
stated in The Natural Freedom of Awareness: 

The four distorting limitations are pristine by nature. 

And Naturally Arising Awareness states: 

Like mirages or shifting images on water, 

things are not simply nonexistent, nor are they existent. 

Because they are beyond both existence and nonexistence, 
there is no recollection of them in the mind of one who 
is realized. 

The essence of awareness is unborn. 

The nature of apparent phenomena is unceasing. 

The defining characteristic of awareness is its insubstantiality. 

The fruition of that awareness is uncontrived. 

A decisive experience that those who reify the characteristics of things 
are worthy of compassion is shown to lie in transcendence of reifica- 
tion and fixation: 

Although the nature of phenomena is primordially pure, 
immature people — unaware that what is ultimately meaningful 
has nothing to do with acceptance or rejection 38 — 
are attached to their own views and so are continuously 
imprisoned. 

How emotionally afflicted they are — their ideas reify 
the characteristics of things. 

How confused they are to misconstrue what is ineffable 
as having identity. 

How wearisome it is to reify extremes though none exist. 

How worthy of compassion are those who wander forever 
in samsara. 


Primordially, the nature of phenomena has nothing to do with ac- 
ceptance or rejection and does not require that anything be done. 
However, immature people who cling to the eight lower spiritual ap- 
proaches cloud the perception of thatness itself with their myriad 
opinions. They are emotionally afflicted in misconstruing the teach- 
ings of their respective approaches as having identity. Their minds are 
confused by the phenomena that they reify as having characteristics, 
and their belief in extreme views has made them weary. Since they 
wander in the cycle of samsara, caught up in dualistic perception, they 
are worthy of compassion. As Samantabhadra: Mirror of Enlightened 
Mind shows: 

Since buddhahood is not developed but occurs naturally, 
you err in meditating and trying to achieve buddhahood. 

Since enlightenment abides nonconceptually, 

you err in creating a basis of virtuous qualities that is composite. 

Since the majestic approach of secret mantra is beyond words, 
you err in seizing upon words and letters. 

Since the ultimate heart essence is birthless and deathless, 
you err in thinking in terms of birth and death. 

Since dharmakaya is free of all thought, 

you err in indulging in various kinds of thinking. 

Since sambhogakaya manifests precisely, clear in every way, 
you err in your ignorance, reifying samsara. 

Since nirmanakaya manifests in harmony with beings, 
you err in reifying it as the forms of ordinary beings. 

Since the three kayas by their very nature do not unite 
and then separate, 

you err in perceiving the three as discrete. 

Since view and meditation are inseparable, identical in nature, 
you err in perceiving view, meditation, and conduct. 

Since all phenomena are of the nature of awareness, 
you err in perceiving phenomena as ordinary mind. 

The heart essence of enlightenment is without error 
or obscuration. 

How then could one think in terms of error or obscuration? 

There is never any error, and obscuration is totally absent. 

Since dharmakaya is free of obscuration, 
how emotionally afflicted it is to think in terms of either error 
or obscuration. 



134 


The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Ineffability 135 


Since dharmakaya is unborn and occurs naturally, 
how thoroughly confused it is to hope that it is otherwise. 

Since awareness is unborn and free of thought, 

how tiresome it is to demonstrate it with words and letters. 

Since sublime knowing is unceasing and arises in and of itself, 
how utterly miserable is the mind that is ignorant and deluded. 

One comes to a decisive experience of the transcendence of the karmic 
consequences of positive and negative actions: 

The sun of ultimate reality, naturally occurring awareness, 
is obscured by the clouds of both virtue and harm, 
positive and negative, 

and obstructed by the lightning of obsessive efforts to accept 
or reject. 

With the continuous downpour of confused perceptions 
of happiness and suffering, 

the seeds of samsara ripen into the crops 39 of the six kinds 
of beings. 

Alas! How worthy of compassion are beings tormented 
in these six states. 

In the summertime rain clouds, lightning, and rain join together to 
obscure the orb of the sun. With the clouds (composite factors of posi- 
tive and negative karma) and lightning (efforts to accept or reject), 
rain falls as disparate experiences of happiness and suffering. With 
this, each individual’s perception of the sun of ultimate reality — dhar- 
makaya, naturally occurring timeless awareness — is obscured. To one 
immersed in genuine being, who has realized thatness itself, those 
who thus wander perpetually in samsara are seen to be worthy of 
compassion. The Great Garuda states: 

In groundlessness, uncontrived and free of anything to rely upon, 
assuming specific postures and trying to relax in lucidity bind one 
to apparent phenomena. 

If one’s mind is not free of extremes and not unbiased, 
mental analysis and speculation prevent one from experiencing 
the way of abiding. 

Without the confidence that comes from resting naturally 
in timeless freedom, in which nothing need be done, 


realization is constrained by wishful thinking and fleeting 
meditative experiences. 

Without the key point of resting naturally and not seeking 
anything, 

awareness is obscured by reliance on teachings that concern 
causality. 

The great master Ha Shang spoke in a similar way, and although 
those with less developed minds could not accept it at the time, in fact 
what he said holds true. This is kept secret from those who follow 
lesser spiritual approaches because their minds cannot encompass it, 
and were they to belittle it, the karma would cause them to fall into 
lower states of rebirth. The Tantra of Heaped Jewels states: 

“Do not utter even a word of this among shravakas, pratyeka- 
buddhas, and others! Why is this, you ask? Upon hearing these 
words, they will become frightened, terrified, and will faint. They 
will have no interest in the secret mantra approach and so they 
will repudiate it, and as the inevitable karmic consequence of this 
they will experience rebirth as beings in a vast hell realm. There- 
fore, you should not even speak upwind of them, to say nothing 
of teaching them and their listening. ” 

Vajra of Speech asked, “O transcendent accomplished con- 
queror, for what reason are all shravakas and others like this?” 

The reply was: “It is because shravakas and pratyekabuddhas 
are small-minded, having been unsuitable to receive the teachings 
of the secret mantra approach for countless eons. It is, for exam- 
ple, like trying to pass a bolt of cloth through the eye of a needle 
when it will not fit and there is no chance of its going through.” 

And The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Keep this naturally occurring timeless awareness, whicfy entails 
no causes or conditions, extremely secret. 

Do not speak of it to those involved with causality. 

I advise you to come to a decisive experience of causality: 

From the consummate and ultimate perspective of the definitive 
heart essence, 

chains of gold and ropes are equally binding. 



136 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Ineffability 


i37 


Likewise, the spiritual and nonspiritual bind the mind equally. 

Just as light and dark clouds are equally obstructing, 
positive and negative actions equally obscure awareness. 

Therefore, it is crucial that one immersed in genuine being — 
who has realized this to be so — 
transcend all causes and effects, whether positive or negative. 

The ultimate meaning of awareness lies in the fact that, in itself, it 
is immaculate as naked dharmakaya — not sullied by anything, not 
characterized by anything, and transcending everything — which is 
compared to the orb of the sun. Regarding all reification, fixation, 
and deliberate effort concerning phenomena, there are no distinctions 
to be made, in that these are equally obscuring and binding. This is 
similar to the fact that light clouds obstruct just as dark clouds do, or 
that chains of gold bind just as ropes do. The Text of Copper Letters 
states: 

Chains of gold and ropes are equally binding. 

And Vajrasattva : Mirror of the Heart states: 

Understand all aspects of awareness to be free of ordinary con- 
sciousness, which involves concepts of identity. Similarly, bring 
this understanding to the point of understanding that all phenom- 
ena are unceasing. Bring the understanding of what is unceasing 
to the point of understanding that it manifests in any way what- 
soever. Bring the understanding of what manifests in any way 
whatsoever to the point of understanding that it is unborn. Bring 
the understanding of what is unborn to the point of understand- 
ing that it does not come or go. Bring the understanding of what 
does not come or go to the point of understanding that it is non- 
dual. Bring the understanding of what is nondual to the point of 
understanding that it is absolutely free of limitations. Similarly, 
bring this understanding to the point of not conceptualizing or 
thinking about any phenomenon in any way. Bring this under- 
standing of all phenomena to the point of experiencing their es- 
sence lucidly and without distraction. 

The heart essence is the decisive experience of what is ultimately 
meaningful^ 


Naturally occurring timeless awareness arises from within, 
the dark night of causality is cleared away, 
and the massing clouds of virtue and harm do not amount 
to anything whatsoever — 

the sun of ultimate reality shines in the sky of the basic space 
of phenomena. 

This is the decisive experience in the ultimate sense. 

The definitive conclusion is reached by virtue of the ineffable 
nature of the ten attributes. 

This is superior to all spiritual approaches based on either 
causes or results. 

With naturally occurring dharmakaya arrayed like space, causality 
(which is comparable to the darkness of the night) is naturally cleared 
away, while there is purity beyond virtue and harm (which are compa- 
rable to massing clouds). It is only natural for the sun to shine — that 
is, for the heart essence of utter lucidity to “ shine” in the basic space 
of phenomena (sky in the ultimate sense). Since the ineffable nature of 
the ten attributes is fully evident, the metaphor of the sun shining in a 
clear sky (sky in the ordinary sense) can be used. The All-Creating 
Monarch states: 

The heart essence of everything — this awakened mind, 
itself timelessly and spontaneously present by nature — 
need not be sought or achieved through the ten attributes. 

My nature is like space, the universal metaphor. 

In pure space, all is such that it entails no effort; 
in pure space, all is such that there is nothing to be sought, 
o Space, within which all is created, is beyond all effort 
and achievement; 

so too is the all-creating heart essence, awakened mind. 

Because I transcend the entire range of finite experience, 
in me there is nothing to view, nor ever anything to cultivate 
in meditation. 

Likewise, the nature of these ten attributes is such that 
for me, the transcendent one, nothing need be done. 

Those who follow spiritual approaches based on either 
causes or results, 

seeking me through the ten attributes, wish to behold me 
and my nature. 



138 The Way of Abiding 


Ihe Theme of Ineffability 


139 


As though stepping out into space and falling to earth, 

they will fail in their attempts to progress by using these 
ten attributes. 

One comes to a decisive experience of the purity of naturally manifest 
thought: 

Nonmanifest meditative absorption is beyond the range 
of meditation. 

This self-knowing awareness as such, free of elaboration, 

is the decisive experience of the complete resolution 
of phenomena. 

Phenomena are resolved in it; it, moreover, finds its resolution 
in phenomena. 

Since this decisive experience has nothing to do with whether 
or not there is such resolution, 

it is decidedly beyond characterization and expression in terms 
of existence or nonexistence. 

There is no specific reference point, but rather a supremely 
spacious and panoramic state. 

Phenomena are resolved, ordinary consciousness is transcended. 

How joyful is one immersed in genuine being! 

This very state — immersion in genuine being in the past, present, 
and future — 

is the single basic space of enlightened intent, the uninterrupted 
nature of phenomena. 

Masters of awareness share a dimension of experience equal 
to that of all victorious ones. 

This naked awareness, in which phenomena are resolved, is the en- 
lightened intent of dharmakaya in its natural place of rest, the resolu- 
tion of all phenomena, the supreme original purity in which phenom- 
ena are resolved. Ultimately, all phenomena are resolved therein. This 
awareness, moreover, is such that the term “phenomenon” amounts 
to nothing but a label. With the final decision that it is beyond charac- 
terization and expression, one immersed in genuine being, who has re- 
alized suchness, has enlightened intent that is totally free and without 
any particular point of reference. This is the basic space of realization 
identical to that of all buddhas of the three times and all those im- 


mersed in genuine being. It is termed “the blissful unfolding of su- 
preme joy, since it arises free of extremes and restrictions — naturally 
expansive. 

The Tantra of the Great and Perfect Dynamic Energy of the Lion 
discusses the realization that in the ultimate sense there is nothing to 
be cultivated in meditation: 

One does not perceive the ultimate meaning of the nature 
of phenomena by cultivating meditative stability. 

Naturally manifest meditative absorption is free of conceptual 
extremes. 

The nature of phenomena, free of elaboration, is equal to the 
limits of space. 

A pure frame of reference entails no reifying thoughts. 

Buddhahood, free of the four limitations, is self-knowing 
awareness. 

Dharmakaya is beyond the limitations of existence 
and nonexistence. 

The unique awakened state is free of judgment, 

dharmakaya is without the dualism of “is” and “is not,” 

and the blissful force of self-knowing awareness is beyond 
reifying thoughts. 

As for the arising of joy and well-being that comes with the reali- 
zation of suchness, The Tantra of the Supreme Array of Inset Gems 
states: 

The supreme mandala is without any frame of reference 
and is unimaginable. 

How blissful is the mind that realizes the ultimate meaning 
of great perfection! 

One comes to a decisive experience of supreme emptiness, which can- 
not be characterized: 

The noncomposite expanse— unchanging and indivisible. 

The expanse of naturally occurring timeless awareness — 
beyond effort and achievement. 

The expanse in which all phenomena are mere names— 
beyond imagination and expression. 



140 1 HE WAY OF ABIDING 

Within this wholly positive realm, in which nothing need 
be done, 

regardless of what manifests there is still wholly positive 
basic space. 

In this basic space of Samantabhadra, apparent phenomena 
and emptiness are not better or worse. 

When the ineffable is taken as existent, labeling occurs 
out of confusion, 

yet even while there is labeling, there is no confusion 
or its opposite. 

One comes to a decisive experience of phenomena being 
completely unnameable: 

this is the way of abiding that is natural great perfection. 

Since awareness is in its very essence without transition or change, 
it entails no effort or achievement, no differentiation or exclusion, is 
beyond imagination or expression, and is beyond anything needing to 
be done — the wholly positive nature. Regardless of how phenomena 
may appear within its scope — whether as samsara or nirvana, better 
or worse, and so forth — even as they manifest they are mere labels, 
since they do not exist in actuality. Furthermore, if one actively inves- 
tigates these characterizations, one comes to a decisive experience of 
the purity of the inconceivable and inexpressible nature of phenom- 
ena, which cannot be characterized. Samantabhadra : Mirror of En- 
lightened Mind states: 

The infinite expanse of enlightenment — unobscured 
and totally pure. 

Since there is no construct of anything to be obscured, 
there is no obscuring factor to be refuted, 

and since there is no buddhahood, not even the label 
“buddha” exists. 

Since there is no reification, not even the label “ordinary being” 
exists . 40 

Since there is no conceptualization, confusion due to 
nonrecognition does not exist. 

Since there is no fixation, the concepts of discursive mind 41 
also do not exist. 

Since there is no attachment, the habitual patterns of ordinary 
mind also do not exist. 


The Theme of Ineffability 14! 

Since there is no past, not even the label “future” exists. 

Since there is no present, not even the label “afflictive emotion” 
exists. 

Since there is no ultimate reality, not even the label “relative 
reality” exists. 

Since there is no awareness, not even the label “nonrecognition 
of awareness” exists. 

Since there is no buddhahood, not even the label “ordinary 
being” exists. 

Since there are no teachings, not even the label “teacher” exists. 

Now, in conclusion, the entire theme is summarized: 

Thus, concerning the phenomena of the world of appearances 
and possibilities, whether of samsara or nirvana, 

with the decision that there is no question of there being 
confusion or not, 

nirvana is not something to be achieved by renouncing samsara. 

With the decision that there is no question of things being born 
or not, 

one transcends objects conceived of as being born or ceasing, 
as existent or not. 

With the decision that there is no question of whether there is 
purity or impurity, 

there is equilibrium — nothing better or worse, no acceptance 
or rejection. 

One has come to a decisive experience of all phenomena within 
the wholly positive expanse. 

Since the essence of all phenomena has never existed as any 
“thing,” it transcends confusion or a lack of confusion. Since these are 
transcended, it is beyond the renunciation of samsara or the accep- 
tance of nirvana. It is beyond any question of being born or not, and 
so is beyond some frame of reference that entails origination or cessa- 
tion. It is beyond purity or impurity, and so is beyond distinctions of 
better or worse, acceptance or rejection. One has come to this decisive 
experience within wholly positive enlightened intent, the ground of 
being in which phenomena are resolved. Abiding in ineffability, the ul- 
timate heart essence, one has come to a decisive experience that all 


142 The Way of Abiding 


causes and effects, whether positive or negative — all that does or does 
not accord with the teachings — are timelessly equal in awareness, 
which is empty and has no substance. The Tantra Without Letters 
states: 

In the view of naturally occurring timeless awareness, there is no 
object to be investigated. There were none in the past, there will 
be none in the future, and none whatsoever manifest in the 
present. There is no karma. There are no habitual patterns. There 
is no nonrecognition. There is no mind. There is no discursive 
consciousness. There is no sublime knowing. There is no sam- 
sara. There is no nirvana. There is even no awareness. There is 
nothing whatsoever that manifests as timeless awareness. 

Ah! Since naturally occurring timeless awareness has no life 
force, it is beyond the limitations of positive or negative. Since 
there is no deliberate action, outer objects and inner mind are 
transcended. 


Within the scope of nonmanifest awareness, myriad phenomena 

are totally pure in the ineffability of causes and effects, whether 
positive or negative, 

and so the ultimate meaning of what, like space, entails no effort 
or achievement 

has been explained in this precious commentary that analyzes 
the first topic. 

Individuals of the highest acumen and good fortune, 

learned ones who have heard many teachings and undergone 
excellent training, 

accomplished gods and demigods, masters of mantras 
of awareness, 

and vast hosts of oath-bound guardians — rejoice in this! 

From The Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding, this is the com- 
mentary on the first vajra topic, reaching the definitive conclusion 
concerning the utter inexpressibility of all phenomena. 


2 

The Theme of Openness 


Now, the second vajra topic is that of ascertaining the nature of open- 
ness — showing that all phenomena are such that they cannot be de- 
fined by restrictions or extremes. This is considered under four head- 
ings: revealing the key point, discerning the implications, embracing 
the larger scope, and coming to the decisive experience. 

Revealing the Key Point 

This first heading is demonstrated concisely: 

Having come to a thorough understanding of the way of abiding 
as ineffability, 

one reaches the definitive conclusion that its nature is openness. 

The transmission of atiyoga, the very pinnacle of all spiritual 
approaches, is like space, without limit or center. 

The greatest of the great is the spacious mind of Samantabhadra, 
its nature a supreme and uninterrupted evenness. 

Awareness, empty yet lucid, without limit or center, is dharmakaya 
as an uninterrupted openness — atiyoga, the spacious mind of Saman- 
tabhadra — like space in that it is not defined by restrictions or ex- 
tremes. It is “the supreme and inexpressible state beyond ordinary 
consciousness.” The Six Expanses states: 

In the inexpressible nature of mind 

words manifest, yet have no underlying basis . 1 


143 



144 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Openness 145 


I, Samantabhadra, have revealed, 

“This is beyond the scope of expression or imagination.” 

And The Natural Freedom That Underlies Characteristics states: 

The transmission of atiyoga, the very pinnacle of all spiritual 
approaches, 

is the highest point of all, like a majestic mountain. 

The greatest of the great, the spacious mind of Samantabhadra, 
overwhelms the eight spiritual approaches by its own power. 

Similarly, awareness is, by its own power, an expanse 
of evenness, 

a supreme evenness, a single vast expanse in which 
there is no question of whether or not there is realization, 
whether or not there is freedom. 

The essence of openness is revealed: 

Since manifest phenomena — the world of appearances 
and possibilities — and nonmanifest awakened mind 
do not waver from what simply is, unembellished, 
there is freedom from concepts, with no framework 
of limit or center. 

The nature of openness abides, supreme and uninterrupted. 

In that all phenomena manifest naturally, their essence is not de- 
fined by restrictions or extremes, and so the ground aspect is open- 
ness. No conceptual framework or reification is imposed by ordinary 
consciousness, and so the path aspect is openness. There is no hope or 
fear, no transition or change, and so the fruition aspect is openness. 
Apparent phenomena do not waver from awareness, and so basic 
space is openness. Moreover, awareness, the essence of awakened 
mind, abides timelessly as an uninterrupted openness free of restric- 
tions — “the nature of phenomena that never wavers.” Overwhelming 
the Six Modes of Consciousness with Splendor states: 

Bringing mastery over samsara, nirvana, and all spiritual 
approaches, 

the oneness in which nothing need be done overwhelms 
everything with its splendor. 


There is nothing that could constitute a limitation anywhere. 

There is nowhere to stray from the single expanse in which 
nothing need be done. 

Freedom from anything needing to be done — the very expanse 
of Samantabhadra. 

Openness is shown to be like space, without the bias of dualistic 
perception: 

Even as they appear, all phenomena 2 that manifest as objects 
have no aspects or substance, and so there is expansive openness. 
Moreover, mind — self-knowing awareness — is not divisible 
into earlier and later 3 

and so, just as it is, constitutes an expansive openness, like space. 

With the past having ceased, the future yet to come, 
and no remaining in the present, the scope of awakened mind 
has no foundation or substance and transcends being an object 
that can be characterized. 

Natural openness is the infinite dimension of space. 

Three factors — objects, ordinary mind, and awareness as the 
ground of both of these — constitute an expansive openness; given 
this, all apparent objects are natural forms of emptiness that do not 
consist of atoms or components. They are thus pure in being empty 
throughout the three times, having no partial aspects or substance, 
and so their essence is openness. There is openness in the unceasing 
appearance of things, for they are inconceivable and cannot be quan- 
tified. There is openness in that whatever arises in the mind is itself 
empty, for there is no moment of consciousness left to divide. There is 
openness in the arising of the unceasing myriad display. There is open- 
ness in that awareness, empty yet lucid, has neither limit nor center. 
And there is openness in that there is one basic space that cannot be 
fragmented and in which everything occurs. 

In timeless and ultimate buddhahood — the very essence of purity 
beyond dualistic perception — objects and mind manifest such that 
they are naturally unsullied and naturally lucid. All apparent objects 
are forms of emptiness; all mental states arise naturally. These do not 
go beyond naturally occurring timeless awareness — the simultaneity 
of awareness and emptiness. The All-Illuminating Sphere states: 



146 The Way of Abiding 


1 HE 1 HEME OF OPENNESS 147 


The ultimate meaning of view — that there is nothing to be 
viewed — is revealed. 

This is the view that has no particular point of reference. 

Since timeless awareness, having no substance, is unobstructed, 
this self-knowing awareness is spontaneously present. 

Since there is nothing other than this, 

anything within the individual’s self-knowing timeless awareness 
is the radiance of that supreme awareness. 

This timeless state is the accomplished conqueror Vajradhara. 

Therefore, within the ground of being, 

perfect buddhahood is not some object, 

for there is total purity beyond dualistic perception. 

Self-knowing awareness abides within its own radiance. 

Space, pure by nature, is permeated by the ultimate “sky” 
of the nature of phenomena. 

In the ultimate sky of the nature of phenomena 
shines the sun of self-knowing timeless awareness, 
illuminating everything without distinction or bias. 

Openness is shown to entail neither activity nor effort: 

In the ultimate heart essence, with no extreme or bias, 
there is no framework of view, empowerment, mandala, mantra 
repetition, levels, paths, samaya, training, or progress. 

Rather, there is expansive openness in supreme spaciousness 
that is free of any basis. 

This is fulfilled within awakened mind, the nature 
of phenomena. 

In the essence of awareness, there is no view, empowerment, man- 
dala, mantra, levels, paths, or samaya whatsoever. And so all words 
that describe them and all contrived actions that they entail are point- 
less, because what is ultimately meaningful about the enlightened in- 
tent of openness — of purity in which nothing need be done — is be- 
yond being benefited or harmed. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

O great and courageous one, 

this nature of mine is difficult to fathom. 

There are eight factors — access, view, samaya, 


enlightened activity, paths to be traversed, states of attainment, 
timeless awareness, and the nature of phenomena — 
as well as the three kayas and five spiritual approaches. 

My view and conduct do not accord with these other approaches. 

As for access, there is entrance through the doorway that cannot 
be sought. 

I have shown that view is not to be cultivated. 

I have shown that samaya is not to be upheld. 

I have shown that enlightened activity is not to be sought. 

I have shown that there are no paths to be traversed. 

I have shown that states of attainment are not to be developed. 

Timeless awareness is nonconceptual and immutable. 

The nature of phenomena, what simply is, is not to be contrived. 

Spontaneous presence is shown to be naturally pure openness: 

All phenomena, however they manifest, 
are sacred in being unborn by their very nature, 
and so are spontaneously present — unceasing and not abiding 
in any specific way. 

Since there is total purity, free of any framework of existence 
or nonexistence, 

the nature of phenomena is expansive openness, great perfection. 

Since all manifest aspects of the simultaneity of awareness and 
emptiness are timelessly unborn, they abide like the moon’s reflection 
on water, their sacredness in being unborn permeating them just as 
wetness does water. While appearing clearly — unceasing and natu- 
rally manifest — they abide in the total purity that is their very essence. 
This is the nature of phenomena — expansive openness, great per- 
fection. The simultaneity of apparent phenomena and emptiness is 
spontaneously present within the scope of awakened mind. Cutting 
Through the Three Times states: 

United as one, everything is the basic space of oneness. 

Oneness is without origination — the unborn basic space 
of phenomena. 

The magical displays that are born within unborn basic space 
are thoroughly indeterminate and completely unrestricted. 



148 The Way of Abiding 

Natural lucidity is shown to be supreme openness: 

In awareness, the ultimate heart essence of enlightenment, 

there is no holding to extreme views, but rather freedom 
from bias based on characteristics . 4 

There is no conclusion to be reached through theories 
of language or knowledge. 

It is beyond characterization , 5 can be neither affirmed 
nor denied, 

neither increases nor decreases, and neither comes nor goes. 

Given total purity in the supreme spaciousness of spontaneous 
evenness, 

there is uninterrupted openness, free of all extremes or bias. 

Since the essence of awareness itself has no substance or character- 
istics, it has never existed in any extreme or biased way. Since it is free 
of conceptual or verbal elaboration, it cannot be understood through 
theories of language or knowledge. Since the essence of being cannot 
be pinpointed, there is expansive openness in what is beyond charac- 
terization, can be neither affirmed nor denied, neither increases nor 
decreases, and neither comes nor goes. Within the scope of awareness, 
its natural radiance arises, without being localized, as the display of 
Samantabhadra. As such, whatever arises is not beyond the scope of 
awareness. The world of appearances and possibilities, whether of 
samsara or nirvana, converges within the bhaga of Samantabhadra, 
and so there is expansive openness in the oneness of the supreme 
sphere of being. The All-Illuminating Sphere states: 

In self-knowing awareness — having no substance, timelessly 
pure, and unobstructed — 

there is timeless and total purity beyond substance and 
characteristics. 

The face of Samantabhadra gazes in all the ten directions. 

There is convergence within the single expanse of bliss, 
the bhaga of the mother consort. 

The three realms are, without exception, the supreme sphere 
of being. 

Supreme openness arises naturally: 


I HE 1 HEME OF UPEJNJNEiii) 14^ 

In enlightened intent there is no occurrence of or involvement 
with hope or fear, 

and so there is uninterrupted openness, regardless of what arises. 

In this naturally arising, unbiased, and unrestricted state — 
what simply is — 

there is never a chance of being caught within the cage 
of reification. 

Whatever arises does so as the display of natural dynamic energy 
arising within the scope of awareness (like waves on water) or as 
movement within its naturally unsullied state (like fish swimming in 
the ocean). To engage in that movement without viewing it with any 
bias is “ uninterrupted openness in which things simultaneously arise 
and are free.” The All-Illuminating Sphere states: 

In the ocean of naturally occurring timeless awareness, 
any thoughts stirring in the conceptual mind 
are golden fish swimming in that ocean. 

And The Direct Encounter with the Three Kayas states: 

However thinking occurs, it occurs within its own context. 

However concepts occur, they occur within their own context. 

In awakened mind, there is never any thinking or concepts. 

The mind of victorious ones of the three times is free of 
conceptualization. 

The state in which phenomena are resolved is shown to be the ulti- 
mate meaning of openness: 

Since all things come back to openness, 

their nature is beyond the extreme 6 of denial or affirmation. 

Just as the universe will disappear within the realm of space, 
denial and affirmation, attachment and aversion, vanish 
in original basic space. 

Since they do not go anywhere, thought patterns leave no trace. 

Given expansive openness 7 within the scope of uninterrupted 
awareness, 

the limitations of holding to hope and fear are transcended . 8 



1 50 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Openness 151 


The tethering stake of dualistic mind is pulled free. 

The “city” of the confusing perceptions of samsara is emptied. 

Clouds form in the sky and fade in that context. Likewise, initially 
all phenomena occur within basic space, and in the final analysis they 
are freed therein as well. With such realization, mind and all mental 
events — denial and affirmation, attachment and aversion, and so 
forth — revert to the original source, the empty sphere of being. This is 
the pith instruction that ordinary mind, the confusion of samsara, is 
pristine in its timeless purity. This constitutes abiding in naturally 
empty and unbiased openness. The Natural Freedom That Underlies 
Characteristics states: 

Since underlying causes revert to the single sphere of being, 

hope and fear about goals are cut through — a realm equal 
to space. 

Expansive, vast, and equal to space — the enlightened mind 
of victorious ones. 

No renunciation or attainment — the expanse of the single sphere 
of being. 

Freedom in its own ground — no question of whether or not there 
is realization. 

In summary: 

Therefore, the dynamic energy of display is external — 
phenomena that manifest as objects — 

and internal — the manner in which one’s mind arises. 

For those who understand everything to be tunelessly empty 
and open, 

all phenomena 9 are revealed within the key point of openness. 

No phenomenon goes beyond either awareness or its dynamic en- 
ergy. Since awareness in its very essence is without conceptual or ver- 
bal elaboration and is the source of all possible phenomena, there is 
expansive openness in that it is not defined by restrictions or ex- 
tremes. Outwardly, all apparent objects manifest from the dynamic 
energy of awareness, but this natural radiance is misconstrued as hav- 
ing identity, and so they arise like a woman one has seen before who 


appears in one’s dreams. Inwardly, the eight modes of conscious- 
ness — mind and all mental events that entail reification — arise due to 
the unceasing avenue of responsiveness being misconstrued as having 
identity. All that manifests in the duality of object and subject arises as 
adornment and display from the dynamic energy that is the natural 
manifestation of awareness. Moreover, in actuality this all constitutes 
forms of emptiness — clearly apparent yet ineffable, having never ex- 
isted outwardly or inwardly as anything — and so there is expansive 
openness in this ineffability. Once their nature has been realized, they 
are experienced as free in that they abide naturally and straightfor- 
wardly, without having to be renounced, and are similar to appear- 
ances in dreams or illusions. The Great Garuda states: 

Mind is such that it is never defined by extremes. 

It seems to everyone that the lower states of samsara exist, 

but in truth they do not, being like dreams, illusions, or castles 
in the sky. 

It is impossible for these false perceptions to carry the weight 
of truth. 

Discerning the Implications 

Now, the implications of openness can be discerned. One implication 
that can be discerned is that, in the absence of dualistic perceptions, 
openness is wholly positive: 

Concerning the facets of the nature of phenomena, 
one implication that can be discerned 

is that they constitute self-knowing timeless awareness 
as openness, empty yet lucid. 

Not constrained by being perceived as a subject, beyond 
being perceived as an object, 

and without any point of reference, wide-open clarity 
is unrestricted. 

Enlightened intent — undistracted, for all recollection 
has been exhausted — 

is expansive openness like space, neither meditation 
nor nonmeditation. 

This is the vast expanse of enlightened intent, wholly positive. 



152. Ihe Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Openness 153 


Regardless of how consciousness arises in response to apparent 
phenomena, to rest yet remain alert within an expansive, naked, and 
naturally pristine state, without prolonging thought processes, is to 
discern the implications of ultimate and wholly positive enlightened 
intent as supreme and uninterrupted openness. The Great Garuda 
states: 

Freedom in all its immediacy — naturally pure, boundless, 
completely perfect — 

is that which is naturally evident in freedom from the limitations 
of dualism. 

The implications of the vast expanse free of anything needing 
to be done, unsought and supreme, 

can be discerned, without action or speech, within the “interval” 
between form and emptiness. 

The unrestricted relaxation of the six modes of consciousness is one of 
the implications that can be discerned: 

In this spacious and vast expanse of awareness, empty yet lucid, 

although an unceasing variety of characteristics arises, 

the sense faculties perceive this in all its freshness . 10 

Awareness is clearly evident as the nature of phenomena. 

Things appear freely, consciousness is blissful, 
however it arises, 

and the six modes of consciousness are relaxed — this is the 
naturally arising expanse of timeless awareness. 

Since this is utterly lucid — unobstructed, without division into 
outer or inner — 

it is spontaneously present within the supreme, uncontrived state 
of resting in genuine being. 

Within the scope of awareness, empty yet lucid, when one is rest- 
ing openly in supreme natural lucidity that entails no reifying con- 
cepts, outwardly apparent phenomena are unrestricted and naturally 
vivid, while the six modes of sense consciousness are relaxed. There is 
complete openness, for while apparent objects manifest, they have 
never existed as the objects one perceives. They are unceasing and 
clearly apparent within the unborn expanse, arising in the supreme, 


uncontrived state of resting in genuine being — that is, utter lucidity 
without division between outer and inner — like the arising of reflec- 
tions on a limpid sea. The Tantra Without Letters states: 

The pure enlightened intent of “imperturbable rest that is like 
the ocean” 

is not some apparent phenomenon, nor does it cause anything 
to appear. 

It is not empty, nor does it exist as emptiness. 

It is not mere lucidity, but the realm of supreme lucidity. 

It is not mental laxity, and mental agitation is absent as a matter 
of course. 

It has never wavered, does not waver, and will never waver. 

It has never varied, does not vary, and is beyond all variation. 

Behold the supreme method of resting, which is not brought 
about deliberately. 

Do not try to complicate or simplify it. 

This unique state of imperturbable rest 

is not one of holding still, yet there is no going beyond it. 

In secret timeless awareness, which is like an ocean, 
rest in basic space, in timeless spontaneous vastness 
that is not created. 

In this great ocean, whose depths are difficult to fathom, 
behold the pinnacle of the victory banner that never falls. 

Mind in its essence is ineffable — the supremely uncontrived kaya. 

Not produced, it is victorious over all deliberate attempts 
to produce it. 

Never having come into being, it is uncontrived and 
imperturbable rest itself. 

Unaltered by apparent phenomena, it is not contrived 
by ordinary consciousness. 

Abiding in the sky of the nature of phenomena is revealed 
to be enlightened intent. 

Another implication that can be discerned is that the natural state of 
utter relaxation is supreme openness: 

Like an easygoing person who has nothing more to do, 
body and mind rest in whatever way is comfortable, 
without tension or looseness. 



154 The Way of Abiding 


1 HE I HEME OF OPENNESS 


1 5 5 


Awareness is an expansive openness , 11 like the clear sky, 
abiding within the realm of the basic space of phenomena, 
not uniting with and then separating from it. 

Like an old person whose task is complete, one is content: body 
and speech are at ease and mind is utterly relaxed in its natural condi- 
tion. Thus, objects and mind are free in their nonduality, naturally 
abiding in openness — dharmakaya, awareness that is empty yet lucid. 
The Direct Encounter with the Three Kayas states: 

Awakened mind is the actual support of everything. 

Although an unceasing variety of characteristics arises, 
the sense faculties perceive this in all its freshness. 

The nature of phenomena is clearly evident in whatever 
manifests. 

Things appear freely, the natural expression of awareness 
is blissful, 

and the six kayas are unobstructed. 

This is the naturally arising expanse of timeless awareness. 

Since this is utterly lucid — unobscured, without division 
into outer or inner — 

naturally manifest forms appear in the mirror of mind, 
self-knowing awareness. 

Within the scope of natural manifestation, there is no distraction 
or lack of distraction. 

Mind and body are profoundly relaxed — uncontrived and 
genuinely present. 

Like an easygoing person who has nothing more to do, 
mind and body rest in whatever way is comfortable, for there is 
no tension or looseness. 

The degree of realization that comes from gaining confidence in en- 
lightened intent is shown: 

In the skylike realization of the nature of phenomena, 
empty yet lucid, 

there is unfettered awareness — uninterrupted and expansive 
openness — 

unbound by reification, transcending all thought and 
recollection. 


Everything is complete openness , 12 encompassed within 
the single expanse of enlightened intent. 

A blissful mind blends with the blissful ground of being 13 — 

the realm of awakened mind, in which outer and inner 
are of one taste. 

This is to perceive the way of abiding, the nature in which 
phenomena are resolved. 

Although they manifest outwardly, sense objects are innately pure, 
since they cannot be reified by any analytic framework. Although it 
arises inwardly, mind is innately pure, since it is not polarized from 
these. Without favoring either apparent phenomena or mind, there is 
wide-open clarity in uninterrupted openness. Supremely blissful aware- 
ness — mind abiding naturally — blends and becomes one with the su- 
premely blissful nature of phenomena, which is the ground of being in 
its natural place of rest. With this, one immersed in genuine being is 
led to the way of abiding — the nature in which phenomena are re- 
solved — attains ongoing bliss, and so gains confidence in that way of 
abiding. This is termed the “upwelling of realization through true per- 
ception of the nature of phenomena.” The Perfect Dynamic Energy of 
the Lion refers to 

the ultimate meaning of supreme bliss that occurs naturally 
and entails no reifying thought. 

If the truth of buddhahood is perceived, one is an heir 
to victorious ones. 

If realization is mastered thoroughly, there is always bliss. 

If all that occurs arises as an ally, perception is pure. 

The main point is summarized: 

At the very moment that ideas form about sense impressions, 

natural mind remains open, with perception blissful 
and spacious. 

The major implication that can be discerned is that uninterrupted 
openness 

is naturally radiant 14 and naturally lucid, unconstrained 
by reification. 


I HE WAY OE ABIDING 


The Theme of Openness 157 


In brief, when sense consciousness arises immediately upon the 
manifestation of sense objects, without their being constrained by 
reification one remains undistracted in spacious bliss, which is natu- 
rally lucid and naturally unsullied. This is known as “discerning the 
implications of openness,” because there is freedom from reification, 
which imposes restrictions. The Great Garuda states: 

The implications of the threefold encounter — the display that 
manifests as an objective field of experience — 
can be discerned within the “interval” between sense objects 
and mind, with nothing that arises being rejected. 

Embracing the Larger Scope 

Now, the larger scope of openness is embraced. It is to openness that 
the timeless seal of vajra basic space is applied: 

In the spacious sky in which the reification of objects and mind 
is cleared away, 

awareness, free of the turmoil of thought, 
is embraced within the scope of naturally unsullied openness: 
the “vajra dance” is the unrestricted and uninterrupted nature 
of phenomena. 

Timeless awareness, equal to the basic space of suchness, 
is the timeless application of the natural seal of wholly positive 
enlightened intent. 

Within the scope of awareness, uninterrupted like space, all that 
manifests — objects or mind — is timelessly embraced within the vajra 
theme of nonorigination. So with the realization that any apparent 
phenomenon or consciousness that arises is the dynamic energy and 
display of awareness, one embraces this without rejection or accep- 
tance by allowing it to be free within supreme spwiousness. Aware- 
ness is the vajra theme: insofar as there is arising, there is nothing 
other than awareness that arises within the scope of awareness. 
Awareness is referred to as “the sun of timeless vajra awareness, the 
pinnacle of the victory banner that never falls.” The Perfect Dynamic 
Energy of the Lion states: 


How marvelous! 

The vajra of self-knowing awareness is timeless awareness 
blazing everywhere. 

The naturally manifest vajra without characteristics blazes 
in all directions. 

The radiantly fearless vajra is supreme emptiness. 

The immaculate vajra of what is subtle and coarse blazes 
intensely. 

The great vajra crown is all-pervasive emptiness. 

The limitless vajra is not conferred, but naturally perfect. 

The limitless vajra is samaya that is beyond being upheld. 

The universal scope of awakened mind is revealed: 

Just as myriad dreams are subsumed within sleep, 

being natural manifestations that are empty and without 
true existence, 

so too the phenomena of the universe, whether of samsara 
or nirvana, are embraced by mind. 

They manifest within mind, the vast expanse, but have no 
substance. 

Regardless of what dream images arise, they are subsumed within 
the realm of sleep, and so manifest naturally as empty, as lacking true 
existence. Similarly, all phenomena that manifest as the universe, 
whether of samsara or nirvana, are embraced by awareness — awak- 
ened mind — and since they manifest within mind, they should be un- 
derstood to be the display of awareness, clearly apparent yet ineffable. 
The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Because all this has been created by me, all-creating 
awakened mind, 

everything that comprises the universe of appearances 
and possibilities, 

including all buddhas and ordinary beings, 

is such that there is nothing other than awakened mind. 

Because, timelessly, nothing need be done 

and because, moreover, I have shown everything to be 
awakened mind, 

the crucial import of this fundamental point has been revealed. 



158 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Openness 159 


This is the larger scope of openness itself: 

Just as the entire vast universe has no limit or center 
in the expanse of space, but is uninterrupted openness, 
so, within the expanse of awareness, all that manifests 
outwardly or inwardly — objects or mind — 
is subsumed within openness and is naturally manifest 
and empty . 15 

This is the larger scope of awakened mind that embraces 
all phenomena. 

Openness is revealed to be unbiased, free of dualistic perception. 

The inanimate universe, as enormous as it is, and the six kinds of 
beings, as countless and endless as they are, are embraced within the 
single expanse of supreme basic space. So too, as inconceivable as 
they are, the phenomena of the world of appearances and possibili- 
ties, whether of samsara or nirvana, are timelessly embraced within 
supreme and originally pure awareness. One should realize that they 
are none other than the manifestation, in light of awareness, of empty 
appearances that are ineffable. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

All phenomena, regardless of how they manifest, 
and natural mind are timelessly of the same nature, 
so do not think of 16 this in terms of traditions based 
on either causes or results. 

When one examines the suchness of natural mind, 
what manifests is essence, one’s own enlightenment. 

The same source continues: 

Since the domain of mind, the vast expanse, is enormous, 
there is not a single thing that does not abide therein. 

The empty essence of naturally manifest phenomena and the 
empty nature of mind are identical in their emptiness, so they are said 
to be “embraced by supreme emptiness within a single basic space.” 

Awareness is the larger scope that cannot be imagined or expressed: 

This awakened mind that embraces all phenomena, moreover, 
is without extreme or bias and is subsumed within supreme 
openness. 


It is like infinite space that embraces the universe, 

without limit or center, beyond all imagination or description. 

Given that all phenomena are embraced within awareness, that 
awareness 17 is embraced within uninterrupted openness, beyond ima- 
gination or description, not defined by restrictions or extremes. Open- 
ness is shown to be the nature of totally pure space, as The All-Creat- 
ing Monarch states: 

All phenomena have the characteristic of space. 

The characteristic of space is suchness itself. 

The characteristics of the three kayas abide thus. 

Everything abides in suchness itself. 

However they manifest, all phenomena, 
being just as they are, cannot be improved upon. 

The source of everything is revealed within the larger scope of awareness: 

In awareness, a supreme evenness free of extremes, 
phenomena — the world of appearances and possibilities, 
whether of samsara or nirvana — arise ceaselessly. 

Even as they arise, neither mind nor phenomena can be 
characterized as “things.” 

They are embraced within openness, the nature of phenomena. 

All phenomena of the world of appearances and possibilities, 
whether of samsara or nirvana, arise within awareness, manifest 
within awareness, and are freed within awareness, so they are em- 
braced within awareness. Phenomena and awareness, moreover, are 
embraced within openness, the nature of phenomena beyond charac- 
terization or description, and so are totally pure by nature. The All- 
Creating Monarch states: 

Therefore, the entire universe of appearances and possibilities 
is such that everything abides within the realm of space. 

Buddhas, ordinary beings, and the universe all abide 
in the same way, 

given the vast domain of the supreme expanse of awakened mind. 

In the totally pure nature of phenomena, everything is nondual, 
free of all exaggeration or denigration. 



i6o The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Openness 161 


The meaning of the wholly positive vajra theme is summarized: 

The seal of awakened mind, beyond which no one goes, 

is timelessly applied through supreme and wholly positive 
spaciousness, 

is embraced by the enlightened intent of the guru, protector 
of beings and spiritual master, 

and is itself sealed as the ever-awakened state, the vajra heart 
essence. 

This definitive meaning of the supreme secret is not within 

the reach of anyone who is not of the highest intelligence 
and good fortune. 

The theme of the vajra pinnacle is that there is no transition 
or change. 

Although this vast expanse of enlightened intent — utterly lucid, 
self-knowing awareness — 

is within oneself, it is difficult to always realize this. 

It is seen through the grace of the guru, glorious protector 
and spiritual master. 

It is termed “all phenomena embraced within uninterrupted 
openness.” 

Since there is no phenomenon that is not included within awak- 
ened mind — that is, awareness — we say that “no one goes beyond the 
embrace of mind.” Indeed, The All-Creating Monarch states: 

There is no phenomenon other than what is included 
within mind. 

No phenomenon of samsara or nirvana wavers from the expanse 
of Samantabhadra, the nature of phenomena. Overwhelming the Six 
Modes of Consciousness with Splendor states: 

Within the wholly positive context itself, free of anything needing 
to be done, 

samsara is wholly positive, nirvana is positive . . . 

The definitive meaning of ati depends on whether blessings — 
which derive from the seal of the guru’s sacred enlightened intent be- 
ing applied — are present or not. The Heart Essence of Secrets states: 


The elusive and hidden meaning that is elicited 
abides in the teacher — vajra mind. 

As this shows, that which is ultimately meaningful is the “enlight- 
ened intent of the vajra pinnacle.” This itself is not within the reach of 
anyone who is not of the highest intelligence. The All-Creating Mon- 
arch states: 

Countless eons ago, those who had faith in me, 
all-creating enlightenment — 
those with the suitable karma and good fortune, 
utterly immersed in genuine being — 
had no view to cultivate in meditation, no samaya to uphold, 
no enlightened activity involving effort , 18 no paths to traverse, 
no levels of realization on which to train, no causality, 
no twofold division 19 into ultimate and relative, 
nothing to cultivate in meditation or achieve, 
no motivation to be aroused, and no antidotes. 

So that they might perceive the nature of 20 all-creating mind, 

I revealed it for just this purpose. 

Moreover, the ultimate meaning of utterly lucid enlightened in- 
tent — beyond description or imagination and perceived through the 
grace of the guru — is openness, for it goes beyond the limitation of ex- 
istence or nonexistence. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Extremely immediate timeless awareness, utterly unimaginable, 
is like a precious gem bestowed by all spiritual mentors. 

Coming to the Decisive Experience 

Now, one comes to the decisive experience of openness in the ineffa- 
bility of outer and inner objects: 

The decisive experience of openness is the ultimate heart essence. 

Outer phenomena are unborn, the scope of emptiness. 

They are beyond characterization or expression, since they do not 
abide in any specific way and neither come nor go. 

There is no division between inner phenomena arising 
and being free. 



1 62 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Openness 163 


They are like the traces of a bird in the sky — no frame 
of reference applies . 21 

All phenomena in the outer environment that manifest in light of 
awareness are empty, like reflections that are clearly apparent yet inef- 
fable. All inner phenomena are like the traces left by a bird flying in 
the sky, manifesting as mental stirrings yet fading naturally from one’s 
awareness. Since these have never existed as anything, consciousness 
arises ceaselessly within the unborn ground of awareness, so the 
ground of being as it manifests is primordially free of any context in 
which it can be imagined. The Tantra of Precious Blazing Remains 
states: 

In that the ground of being manifests as apparent phenomena 
that are ineffable by nature, 

it manifests as phenomena that are indescribable, inconceivable, 
and inexpressible. 

All of this abides naturally and timelessly in the equalness 
of the three times. 

One comes to a decisive experience of the simultaneity of awareness 
and emptiness, which is beyond causality: 

Objects and mind, just as they are — and even naturally occurring 
awareness — 

are mere labels and beyond characterization or expression. 

They are free of elaboration. 

Since, as with space, there is no creator, this is the realm 
of emptiness, involving no effort or achievement, 

beyond good or bad, positive or negative, and beyond 22 
causality. 

The ten attributes do not apply. 

Completely spacious openness, the expanse free of 
characterization or expression, 

is timelessly empty, with no question of its being a phenomenon 
or not. 

It does not partake of existence. 

In great perfection, free of ordinary consciousness, 

one comes to a decisive experience of the inconceivable 
and inexpressible nature. 


Objects and mind appear but are not what they appear to be. 
Moreover, the essence of awareness is like space, is the resolution of 
phenomena beyond ordinary consciousness, and is beyond the scope 
of the ten attributes in that it does not entail causes or effects, whether 
positive or negative. One comes to a decisive experience of the even 
state of uninterrupted openness, which is inconceivable and inex- 
pressible. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Since I am the very heart of everyone’s enlightenment, 
there is no secret source of pith instructions elsewhere. 

Because I am beyond all exaggeration or denigration, 

I have decisively experienced all phenomena. 

Since there is no object, only me, 

I have also decisively experienced that there is no view 
to be cultivated in meditation. 

Because there is nothing to be upheld, only me, 

I have also decisively experienced that there is no samaya 
to be upheld. 

Because there is nothing to be sought, only me, 

I have also decisively experienced that there is no enlightened 
activity to be sought. 

Because there is nowhere to abide, only me, 

I have also decisively experienced that there are no levels 
of realization on which to train. 

Because obscurations are timelessly absent in me, 

I have also decisively experienced that I am naturally occurring 
timeless awareness. 

Because I am unborn, the nature of phenomena, 

I have also decisively experienced that I am the subtle nature 
of phenomena. 

Because there is nowhere to journey, only me, 

I have also decisively experienced that there are no paths 
to traverse. 

Because buddhas, ordinary beings, and the universe 
of appearances and possibilities 
all occur due to me — enlightenment, the heart essence — 

I have also decisively experienced timeless nonduality. 

Because I epitomize naturally occurring timeless awareness, 

I have also decisively experienced that I am the supreme lightning 
transmission. 



164 The Way of Abiding 


Because all phenomena are none other than me, 

I, the all-creating one, am the decisive experience of everything. 


The heart essence of phenomena is awakened mind. 

The world of appearances and possibilities, whether of samsara 
or nirvana, 

is naturally manifest, empty form. 

The ultimate meaning of indivisible openness, beyond the realm 
of the imagination, 

has been explained in this precious commentary that analyzes 
the second topic. 

Victorious ones of the three times, masters of awareness, 
guardians, accomplished yogins, 
together with a multitude of oath-bound ones, 
faithful and fortunate individuals of the very highest acumen, 
and hosts of dakas and dakinis — rejoice in this! 

From The Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding, this is the com- 
mentary on the second vajra topic, reaching the definitive conclusion 
concerning the supreme and uninterrupted openness of everything. 


3 


The Theme of 
Spontaneous Presence 

Now, all phenomena are shown to be timelessly and spontaneously 
present. This is considered under four headings: revealing the key 
point, discerning the implications, embracing the larger scope, and 
coming to the decisive experience. 

Revealing the Key Point 

First, spontaneous presence is shown to be like a gem: 

Furthermore , 1 the nature of spontaneous presence 
is not created by anyone, for it abides timelessly. 

Like a gem that provides everything, awakened mind 
serves as the ground that is the source of all phenomena 
of samsara and nirvana. 

Just as the original qualities of a gem are always naturally perfect, 
so awareness — awakened mind — is always spontaneously present as 
the basic space, or ground, of all phenomena, and its qualities are 
such that its essence has never existed as anything, while its dynamic 
energy arises as anything whatsoever. Cutting Through the Three 
Times states: 

Since spontaneous presence, without division into outer or innei; 

cannot be defined by extremes, 
there is no possible limit — awareness is spacious like the sky. 

The nature of phenomena is an infinite expanse, without 
constraints. 


165 



1 66 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Spontaneous Presence 16 7 


It is all-pervasive, with no division into above, below, or any 
direction. 

Unborn, unceasing, and encompassed within the single sphere 
of being, 

it has no final limit, for all that is wished for comes from it alone. 

With no increase or decrease, it is a treasury of precious gems. 

And The Direct Encounter with the Three Kayas states: 

Within the expanse of spontaneous presence is the ground 
from which everything comes. 

Since continuous adornment (enlightened form, speech, 
and mind), 

positive qualities, and enlightened activity come from it, 
without being defined by extremes, 
the basic space of phenomena is a precious gem that fulfills 
all wishes. 

Without having to be sought, everything is spontaneously 
present. 

And The All-Creating Monarch states: 

This awakened mind, the heart essence of everything, 
in itself timelessly and spontaneously present by nature, 
need not be sought or achieved through the ten attributes. 

The ground of being as it manifests is shown to be supreme spontane- 
ous presence: 

Just as the world of appearances and possibilities manifests 
from the realm of space , 2 

samsara and nirvana arise ceaselessly from awakened mind. 

Just as various dreams occur during sleep, 
the six kinds of beings and the three realms arise within the 
context of ordinary mind. 

Even as they arise, all phenomena constitute the scope 
of awareness. 

They are the supreme manifestation of the ground of being — 
empty yet spontaneously present. 


Just as the universe manifests within the realm of space, samsara 
and nirvana arise within the scope of awareness as its unceasing dy- 
namic energy. Of what are they the dynamic energy, you wonder? Just 
as dreams arise from the dynamic energy of sleep, owing to nonrecog- 
nition of awareness beings of the three realms and the apparent phe- 
nomena of the universe manifest from the dynamic energy that arises 
as ordinary mind — the eight modes of consciousness. Like confused 
perceptions manifesting from the dynamic energy of a virulent fever, 
the apparent phenomena of samsara arise naturally from the confu- 
sion of ordinary mind, yet even as they arise they are pure as natural 
manifestations of emptiness. The Direct Encounter with the Three 
Kayas states: 

Within the expanse of spontaneous presence is the ground 
from which everything comes. 

All that manifests as form — the outer environment and the beings 
within it — 

is enlightened form that is not defined by extremes, arising 
as continuous adornment. 

Sounds and voices, whether heard as excellent, average, 
or inferior, 

are enlightened speech that is not defined by extremes, arising 
as continuous adornment. 

The inseparability of everything — oneness in the heart essence 
of ultimate reality — 

is enlightened mind that is not defined by extremes, arising 
as continuous adornment. 

Nonduality is shown to be spontaneous presence: 

Moreover, the ground of being and the mode by which it arises 
as apparent phenomena 

are by nature beyond being identical or separate 

and are timelessly and spontaneously present, arising through the 
avenue of awareness. 

As the dynamic energy of its display, the two modes — samsara 
and nirvana — manifest distinctly as impure and pure, 

yet even in manifesting neither is better or worse, for they are 
of one basic space. 



1 68 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Spontaneous Presence 169 


The ground of being — awareness, awakened mind — is supreme 
spontaneous presence, empty yet lucid. The ground of being as it 
manifests constitutes all phenomena of samsara and nirvana the 
world of appearances and possibilities — that is, phenomena that 
manifest within the context of that ground. Arising through the av- 
enue of spontaneous presence, they seem to be better or worse than 
one another, but since they are of one basic space, without the distinc- 
tion of better or worse, they are beyond being identical or separate. 
This is termed “the realm of naturally occurring timeless awareness.” 
Cutting Through the Three Times states: 

United as one, everything is the basic space of oneness. 

Oneness is without origination — the unborn basic space 
of phenomena. 

The magical displays that are born within unborn basic space 
are thoroughly indeterminate and completely unrestricted. 

And The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Everything contained within the universe of appearances 
and possibilities — 

such as the kayas, timeless awareness, the positive qualities 
of buddhas, 

and the bodies and habitual patterns of beings — 
is, timelessly, the essence of awakened mind. 

The three kayas are shown to be supreme spontaneous presence: 

When lights of five colors shine without obstruction 
from a crystal, 

these lights are perceived as distinct colors, yet none is 
better or worse. 

They are the dynamic energy of a single crystal sphere. 

Self-knowing awareness, the ground of being , 3 is similar 
to that crystal sphere: 
its emptiness is the nature of dharmakaya, 
its naturally radiant 4 lucidity is sambhogakaya, 
and its unceasing avenue as the ground for arising is 
nirmanakaya. 


The three kayas 5 are spontaneously present in basic space 
as the ground of being. 

Since a crystal and the lights of five colors shining from it are of 
one basic space, none is better or worse. By analogy, empty aware- 
ness — comparable to the crystal — is dharmakaya. The lucid aspect of 
awareness — the lights of five colors shining from the crystal — is sam- 
bhogakaya. The aspect of an unobstructed avenue for phenomena to 
arise — corresponding to the capacity of the crystal to emit light (even 
before it does so) — is nirmanakaya. 

Since these three kayas of the ground of being are of the same es- 
sence, ultimately none is better or worse. Rupakaya — which arises 
from that ground, manifesting for those to be tamed — and dhar- 
makaya are neither better nor worse than one another, because they 
are the magical display of a single awareness — awakened mind and 
that which manifests as its dynamic energy. The All-Creating Mon- 
arch states: 

I, the all-creating one, am the essence of the three kayas. 

I am the essence that is dharmakaya, free of elaboration — 
abiding in nonconceptual evenness. 

I am sambhogakaya, which fulfills all desires — 

the nature that is the magical display of events unfolding. 

I am the essence of nirmanakaya — 

responsiveness ensuring benefit by taming in whatever way 
is necessary. 

And The All-Illuminating Sphere states: 

Totally pure by nature, like a crystal statue, 
dharmakaya is flawless, unobstructed, and pristine. 

Although the apparent phenomena of earth, water, fire, air, 
and space 

do in fact manifest with characteristics to a mind that lacks 
realization, 

they manifest yet are ineffable by nature. 

They are evident as the radiance of timeless awareness. 

For example, although a rainbow appears clearly in the sky, 
it does not exist apart from the sky; it only seems to. 


170 The Way of Abiding 


It abides within the context of the sky and, like the sky, 
cannot be separated from that. 

In the space within which the nature of phenomena 
and dharmakaya are inseparable, 
the radiance of timeless awareness is naturally arising, 
naturally manifest, and naturally lucid. 

Ceaselessly evident, it seems to exist apart from that space. 

Lucid and nonconceptual, timeless awareness is dharmakaya. 
Manifesting naturally in itself, sambhogakaya is timelessly 
awakened. 

Responsiveness is nirmanakaya, in which dualistic limitations 
are totally and innately pure. 

Everything is shown to be spontaneous presence, awakened mind: 

From that ground, its manifestation arises as apparent 
phenomena, 

and even as it does there are the three pure kayas, manifesting 
naturally to victorious ones, 
and all the impure appearances of the universe. 

Its very essence is threefold — emptiness, lucidity, and diversity 
the display of dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, and nirmanakaya. 

These three kayas— the dynamic display of the ground of being 
as it manifests — 

are naturally manifest and spontaneously present, not to be 
sought elsewhere. 

Having come to thoroughly understand these distinctions, 
you should realize that, within the realm of awakened mind, 
the phenomena of samsara and nirvana are the spontaneously 
present pure realm of the three kayas. 

With all phenomena having been shown to be of the nature of the 
three spontaneously present kayas, as was just explained, the very es 
sence of the spontaneously present ground of being is the single es- 
sence of the three kayas. What arises from that context the apparent 
phenomena of the universe, whether of samsara or nirvana is the 
manifestation of that ground of being, arising as the display of the 
three kayas. Taken together, these two constitute what is terme 
“spontaneous presence as the three kayas.” 


The Theme of Spontaneous Presence 171 

The pure aspect of the display is threefold: within the dharmakaya 
aspect of buddhahood, the sambhogakaya aspect arises as the five 
buddha families, and the nirmanakaya aspect arises in a variety of 
ways. The impure aspect is the arising of nirmanakaya, sambhoga- 
kaya, and dharmakaya as the three avenues of samsara — body, 
speech, and mind. All of this is of one basic space in spontaneously 
present emptiness. With nothing better or worse, everything consti- 
tutes “the adornment and display of spontaneous presence as basic 
space.” Overwhelming the Six Modes of Consciousness with Splen- 
dor states: 

The spontaneously present nature of mind is the expanse 
of unchanging space. 

Its display is indeterminate — the expanse of the magical 
expressions of responsiveness. 

Everything is the adornment of basic space. 

Apart from this, there is no other context in which they cease. 

Everything is shown to be awakened mind: 

The kayas and timeless awareness of buddhas throughout 
the three times, 

the body, speech, and mind of beings in the three realms, 
karma and afflictive emotions — 

of all these phenomena of the world of appearances 
and possibilities, 

none is anything other than awakened mind. 

Although gold has only a single essence, we may take it to be 
something marvelous when it is fashioned into a statue, or lovely 
when fashioned into bracelets and other ornaments, or unclean when 
fashioned into a bedpan. Nonetheless, in essence it remains the same 
in its basic state as gold. Just as there is no distinction of better or 
worse with respect to the element gold, regardless of how things ap- 
pear — as the pure state of buddhas, as the impure state of ordinary be- 
ings, as karma and habitual patterns — these states are merely imputed 
to be separate on the basis of temporary states of mind. Other than 
that, they are of one basic space — as awakened mind and its dynamic 



172 The Way of Abiding 


energy — and there is absolutely no distinction of better or worse 
within awakened mind. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Buddhas, ordinary beings, karma, habitual patterns — 

no phenomena are other than awakened mind. 

Spontaneous presence is shown to be a universal treasury: 

Within the expanse of spontaneous presence is the ground 6 
from which everything comes. 

All that manifests as form — the outer environment 
and the beings within it — 

is enlightened form that is not defined by extremes, 
arising as continuous adornment. 

Sounds and voices, whether heard as excellent, average, 
or inferior, 

are enlightened speech that is not defined by extremes, 
arising as continuous adornment. 

All timeless awareness and ordinary mind, all realization 
and lack of realization, 

are enlightened mind that is not defined by extremes, 
arising as continuous adornment. 

Since positive qualities and enlightened activity occur without 
being defined by extremes, 

the basic space of phenomena is a precious gem that fulfills 
all wishes. 

Without having to be sought , 7 everything occurs naturally. 

This is “naturally occurring timeless awareness, spontaneously 
present.” 

The essence of awareness arises timelessly without having to be 
sought, as do the naturally manifest phenomena of the world of all 
appearances and possibilities, whether of samsara or nirvana, that 
manifest within its scope. From the form, speech, mind, qualities, and 
activity that constitute buddhahood arise the physical, verbal, and 
mental actions of ordinary beings as naturally manifest, contin- 
uous adornment. This is referred to as “precious spontaneous pres- 
ence, the oneness from which everything comes.” From the supremely 
pure ground of being, the natural manifestation of that ground is 


The Theme of Spontaneous Presence 


I 73 


the expression of its dynamic energy and qualities as the universe, 
whether of samsara or nirvana, and the beings therein. This occurs 
in eight ways — six modes of arising and two avenues of expression. 
The Heaped Jewels states: 

While it cannot be defined in a determinate way, 
spontaneous presence comes about through eight modes 
that allow for its arising. 

Since its way of manifesting is unceasing, 
through the mode of arising that is consistent with 
responsiveness 

it is a source of refuge for all beings. 

Since its manifestation is naturally lucid and unceasing, 
it manifests through the illuminating mode of the five lights. 

Since the manifest aspect of knowing is unceasing, 
through the avenue of pure timeless awareness 
its unceasing manifestation arises as the path. 

Because its natural manifestation constitutes the totality 
of all forms, 

it manifests in a manner consistent with the enlightened 
embodiment of all phenomena. 

Since there is but one essence of consciousness, 
it arises in a manner consistent with nonduality. 

Since suchness does not abide in any specific place of its own, 
as the manifestation of supreme freedom from limitations 
it manifests within the ground of being, which is indeterminate 
and spontaneously present. 

Because unobstructed awareness is perfect in its oneness, 
n through the avenue of purity — timeless awareness itself — 
it is connected with the very essence of being itself. 

Because its mode of occurrence is unceasing, 
it arises from this aspect of pervasive manifestation 
in a manner consistent with the avenue of impurity — samsara — 
as the source of ordinary beings. 

All of this manifests through the eight modes that allow for 
its arising. 

Since this arises naturally through the modes by which things 
come about, 

“spontaneously present appearances” manifest just like 
precious jewels. 



174 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Spontaneous Presence 


i75 


Spontaneous presence is shown to entail no effort or achievement: 

The spontaneously present ground of myriad phenomena 
is awakened mind, which is always spontaneously present, 
so the three kayas, unsought, are innately present as natural 
qualities. 

Since effort — which creates causes and effects, whether positive 
or negative — is unnecessary, 

immerse yourself in genuine being , 8 resting naturally with 
nothing needing to be done. 

The expanse of spontaneous presence entails no deliberate effort, 
no acceptance or rejection. 

From now on make no effort, since phenomena already are what 
they are. 

Since positive qualities are timelessly ensured in the essence of 
awareness, from now on no effort is necessary. And since there are no 
causes or effects, whether positive or negative, these qualities do not 
rely on deliberate renunciation or acceptance. If they were created, 
they would never be ensured, and naturally occurring timeless aware- 
ness would be negated, so you should gain realization in the supreme 
state of natural rest in which phenomena are resolved. The All-Creat- 
ing Monarch states: 

Since there is no relying on the past, 
nothing is accomplished through causes and no result 
is posited. 

Involving no such presumption, enlightened intent is 
spontaneously present by nature. 

Nothing need be done about what has always been so. 

Since things are immutable just as they are, 
there is no need to accomplish what simply is. 

Because all phenomena are spontaneously present by nature, 

buddhas of the three times, for whom this is ensured, 

do not bestow teachings that encourage effort and achievement. 

If one seeks, whatever is sought will not be accomplished by 
meditative absorption. 

That absorption will be a terrible malady. 


The same source continues: 

I, the all-creating one, am already so, timelessly, 
and thus would not indicate to anyone that anything remains 
to be done. 

My retinue would be afflicted with the malady of effort. 

This would lead to the flaw of negating naturally occurring 
timeless awareness. 

It would lead to the flaw of trying to improve upon suchness 
itself. 

Since what is false would compromise and distort what is true, 
the fact that nothing need be done is not achieved by efforts 
to the contrary. 

The fact that nothing need be done is shown to be spontaneous presence: 

Even the enlightenment of all victorious ones of the three times 
is spontaneously present as a supremely blissful state of natural 
rest. 

So, without depending on 9 teachings of causality that are for less 
fortunate ones, 

look to the nature that is like space, in which nothing need 
be done. 

Awareness — ultimate buddhahood, supreme spontaneous pres- 
ence — is natural rest, perceived in its natural place without compro- 
mise or distortion. It is not otherwise brought about by effort or 
achievement. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Buddhas of previous generations, moreover, 

had nothing to contrive or seek out, only their own minds. 

They did not contrive what simply is. 

They did not cultivate meditative absorption that entailed 
concepts. 

Accomplishment came about through nonconceptual 
mind itself. 

For those who abide now or have yet to appear, 
accomplishment also comes about through nonconceptual 
evenness. 



176 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Spontaneous Presence 177 


All teachings based on causality are transmitted in order to guide 
those of lesser fortune, who are spiritually immature, and so apply to 
small-minded people with incorrect views. They do not apply to those 
with good fortune who are thoroughly immersed in genuine being. 
This is because one cannot expect to awaken to buddhahood by ac- 
cepting or rejecting causality, just as one cannot expect to make wood 
a gem by polishing it. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Therefore, great perfection beyond causality 

is not within the reach of those who lack good fortune, 

so they should avail themselves of teachings on causality. 

The same source continues: 

Even if people with little good fortune and no suitable karma 
were taught explicitly and without reservation, they would not 
gain realization. 

They would instead be poisoned by struggling with causality. 

Those who desire a precious gem will not obtain it by polishing 
wood. 

Likewise, fortunate people with suitable karma who are 
thoroughly immersed in genuine being 
have no view, samaya, activity, postmeditation techniques, 
deliberate motivation, meditation and practice based 
on causality, or antidotes. 

To perceive that the ultimate and the relative are not a duality 
is to perceive the suchness of mind, 
and this is a vital necessity to such people. 

Since there always has been spontaneous presence, it is shown that 
there is no need at this point to make it so: 

Given what is, there is no need to create anything further. 

So, in supreme spontaneous presence, uncontrived as it has 
always been, 

cut through all occurrence of and involvement with the hope 
and fear of ordinary mind 

and gain knowledge in basic space, spontaneous presence that 
need not be sought. 


With the sun as a given, its radiance need not be purposely created. 
Similarly, with awareness as a given, it is already ensured as dhar- 
makaya, and so need not be accomplished after the fact through ef- 
fort. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Without deliberately settling, without thinking, and without 
requiring anything, 

abide naturally in nonconceptual evenness. 

Since this has always been so, the mind of effort does not pertain. 

Any abiding in that supreme bliss 
constitutes the heart essence of all phenomena. 

Spontaneous presence is summarized as the heart essence of the three 
kayas, beyond hope and fear: 

All phenomena, however they manifest, 
are the display of dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, 
and nirmanakaya — 

the three uncontrived aspects of essence, nature, 
and responsiveness. 

Samsara and nirvana are the three kayas, the expanse 
of awakened mind, 

spontaneously present in uncontrived supreme evenness, 
and so samsara is not to be renounced, nor is nirvana 
to be achieved. 

With the pacification of all value judgments, there is abiding 
in the ultimate heart essence. 

This reveals all phenomena within the key point, 
the realm of awakened mind, timelessly and spontaneously 
present. 

All phenomena of the world of appearances and possibilities, 
whether of samsara or nirvana, abide in supreme spontaneous pres- 
ence as the natural radiance of the three kayas — essence as emptiness, 
nature as lucidity, and responsiveness as the arising of their myriad 
display. Since these three aspects of awareness (essence, nature, and 
responsiveness) abide as the three spontaneously present kayas that 
constitute the ground of being, samsara has never existed as some- 
thing to be renounced, for it does not exist as something self-defining. 



178 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Spontaneous Presence 179 


Nor has nirvana ever existed as something to be acquired, for it does 
not exist as something to be sought elsewhere. The equalness of sam- 
sara and nirvana in light of awareness is revealed as the key point of 
all phenomena within spontaneous presence as ultimate enlightened 
intent. The Reverberation of Sound states: 

There is threefold abiding as the original state — 
essence, nature, and responsiveness. 

And The All-Creating Monarch states: 

The nature of me, all-creating enlightenment, 
is unsought, naturally and spontaneously present. 

The heart essence of all victorious ones is the three kayas. 

My uncontrived nature is ensured as dharmakaya, 

my uncontrived essence as sambhogakaya, 

and my fully evident responsiveness as nirmanakaya. 

I do not reveal these three to be results accomplished 
by being sought. 

To speak of “nature as emptiness and essence as lucidity” is to 
make a distinction between what is fundamentally unconditioned and 
its heart essence, whereas to speak of “essence as emptiness and na- 
ture as lucidity” is to make a distinction that demonstrates basic space 
and the heart essence of that space. However, the ultimate meaning of 
these is the same — emptiness is dharmakaya, lucidity is sambhoga- 
kaya, and the mode of arising is nirmanakaya. 

Discerning the Implications 

Now, the implications of spontaneous presence can be discerned. One 
implication that can be discerned is that the way in which phenomena 
occur reveals natural mind: 

Phenomena are discerned within the context of 
spontaneous presence. 

The five great elements and all apparent phenomena 
of the universe 

arise timelessly as the expression of nonconceptual 
spontaneous presence. 


Involving no concept of self or other and pure in their 
natural vividness, 

they are discerned within the context of natural mind, 
free of deliberate effort. 

Do not suppress objects that manifest . 10 

Rest 11 with the six modes of consciousness relaxed. 

Within the scope of awareness — naturally occurring timeless 
awareness, a supreme state of original purity that is empty yet lucid 
like a crystal globe — the five great elements constitute the inner aspect 
of lucidity, the spontaneous presence of the five aspects of illumina- 
tion that occur naturally. Things arise from this as the outer aspect of 
lucidity through the body’s five inner aspects of illumination, just as 
outward radiance manifests from the potential for illumination found 
within a crystal. It is this radiance that is initially misconstrued as hav- 
ing identity, and so, out of confusion, the dregs of the five elements are 
perceived to be the universe. When this confusion occurs, the radiance 
of the five great elements — as natural dynamic energy — manifests in 
an impure way. Once this is understood, the five elements of earth, 
water, fire, air, and space abide within their own context in a naturally 
vivid manner, without being thought of as self or other. By analogy, 
self-knowing awareness is unencumbered by discursive thoughts. It is 
unconstrained in that it lacks true existence and — within the scope of 
things appearing without being conceptualized — rests, naturally lucid, 
without reifying appearances based on confusion. 

Similarly, even as the lights and spheres that are outward reflec- 
tions manifest as direct experience, one rests unencumbered and un- 
constrained in natural lucidity without concepts. Thus, one is referred 
to as “someone who is immersed in genuine being, resting in enlight- 
ened intent,” in which the “teachers” — the five elements that are the 
very essence of apparent phenomena — reveal the five principles of 
nonconceptual evenness. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Awakened mind, the universal cause, 

accounts for the five great elements that are the essence 
of mind — 

the five bodhisattva teachers. 

Theirs is the sambhogakaya embodiment; 

the teaching is elucidated by virtue of its own essence; 



180 The Way of Abiding 


1 HE 1 HEME OF SPONTANEOUS PRESENCE ISI 


these teachers reveal the nature of self-knowing awareness. 

As enlightened intent itself, 

these sambhogakaya teachers do not conceive of themselves 
in any way, 

nor do they create concepts about something other 
phenomena as sense objects. 

The five bodhisattva teachers 

all reveal the nature of phenomena in this way. 

The timeless awareness of awakened mind 

occurs naturally as the embodiment of these teachers, 

so words and letters are not revealed. 

Revealing the nature of self-knowing awareness 
involves no concept of self, no concept of other, 
but rather reveals the enlightened intent of nonconceptual 
evenness. 

By realizing this, all ordinary beings of the three realms become 
equal to all buddhas. 

The nature of phenomena that they seek is attained unsought. 

In the same section, this source also describes the situations that 
apply to water, fire, air, and space. 

Another implication that can be discerned is that sensory conscious- 
ness, devoid of concepts, is empty: 

Awareness, the origin of everything, is spontaneously present 
with a lucid radiance . 12 

One implication of the five senses being uncontrived, 
without the coming and going of thoughts , 13 
is that spontaneous presence as enlightened intent is dharmakaya, 
the simultaneity of awareness and emptiness. 

Recognize this, be decisive, and rest free of elaboration. 

When the five kinds of sense objects manifest outwardly, one rests 
inwardly in the lucidity of naturally unsullied awareness, without be- 
coming lost in the immediacy of the perceptions of sensory conscious- 
ness. This is the key point for purifying sensory consciousness in light 
of its emptiness and lucidity. The Great Garuda states: 


The implications of the vast expanse, in which nothing need 
be done, unsought and supreme, 
can be discerned, without action or speech, within the “interval” 
between form and emptiness. 

And The Six Expanses states: 

In the nature of mind, free of ordinary mental processes, 
profound insight that entails no deliberation 
is revealed by me, Samantabhadra, 

to be enlightened intent, the resolution of coming and going. 

The supreme state of natural meditative stability is one of the implica- 
tions that can be discerned: 

In the pure vast expanse of self-knowing awareness, 
free of restriction, 

one implication of the uninterrupted evenness of everything 
that manifests, whether objects or mind, 
can be discerned within the “interval” of spontaneous presence — 
natural meditative stability. 

At all times, like the course of a great river, 
timeless awareness — not cultivated in meditation, 
but spontaneously present — is uninterrupted. 

The heart essence of all phenomena, the primordial expanse 
that occurs naturally, 

reaches full measure as ultimate enlightened intent, 
wholly positive. 

Everyone refers to what is called “no meditation, no distraction,” 
but this is just a tightly controlled state of mind. Here what I mean by 
“the ongoing flow of meditative stability not cultivated in medita- 
tion” is as follows: When any sense object manifests and awareness 
arises without restriction, one recognizes this without suppressing the 
object and settles into utter relaxation. With this, there is a continuous 
equilibrium in openness that is uninterrupted and free of restrictions, 
naturally pristine, and empty yet lucid. It is unborn yet arises cease- 
lessly, is free within that unborn expanse, and so constitutes a natu- 
rally pristine and ongoing flow of meditative stability. The All-Creat- 
ing Monarch states: 



182 The Way of Abiding 


Although everyone speaks of mind itself being unborn 
and everyone embraces the idea that it is ineffable by nature, 
no one actually realizes that it is unborn. 

Therefore, do not engage in any effort: 

merely understand this transmission of the all-creating monarch 
and abide without distraction in its meaning. 

Do not train the mind with corrective measures. 

Do not fixate on objects. Do not try to concentrate. 

That in itself is the ultimate point, however things occur, 
so engage in that ultimate meaning of me, the all-creating one. 

And The Six Expanses states: 

In the nature of mind, which has nothing to do with acceptance 
or rejection, 

the manifestation of natural freedom, without extremes, 

is revealed by me, Samantabhadra, 

to be supremely pervasive enlightened intent. 

Another implication that can be discerned is that spontaneous pres- 
ence is a supreme state of imperturbable rest: 

The source of phenomena is awakened mind; 
awakened mind is similar to space, the universal metaphor. 

Everything is contained within the expanse of space and is pure 
by nature, 

without this entailing effort or achievement. 

Similarly, all outer and inner phenomena, being spontaneously 
present, 

are discerned within the context of the supreme state 
of imperturbable rest in the face of whatever manifests, 
which is beyond all objects of the imagination and does not 
require that anything be done. 

Just as the universe is contained within space, samsara and nirvana 
are totally contained within the essence of awareness. So, regardless 
of what manifests, consciousness of its arising is allowed to rest im- 
perturbably in its natural place, ensuring freedom from thought and 
expression based upon concepts. The All-Creating Monarch states: 


1 HE 1 HEME OF SPONTANEOUS PRESENCE I 83 


Whatever it seems there is to be done, whatever manifests, 
freedom is revealed 

by resting naturally without deliberation in the nature 
of phenomena. 

And The Reverberation of Sound states: 

Given the confusion of the impure state of being, 

the key point is to rest imperturbably 

without manipulating the avenues of the sense faculties. 

Not to deviate from this 14 is the pith instruction. 

Things appear without being reified as objects, 
while mind arises without being reified as a subject. 

The eyes see without analyzing. 

One is led along the path of ineffability — the nature 
of phenomena. 

One is brought to the ground of being that has nothing 
to do with view or meditation. 

One merges with the effortless fruition in which nothing 
need be done. 

In this, one does not dwell in the limitations of apparent 
phenomena. 

And The Six Expanses states: 

In the nature of mind, free of anxiety, 
the experience beyond hope and fear 
is revealed by me, Samantabhadra, 

to be enlightened intent, resting timelessly with indwelling 
confidence. 

Another implication that can be discerned is that spontaneous pres- 
ence is free of deliberate effort: 

Completely encompassing the enlightened intent of victorious 
ones just as it is — 

not coming into being or ceasing, not coming or going, 
and so forth — 



184 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Spontaneous Presence 185 


spontaneous presence is pure and unwavering meditative 
absorption. 

All phenomena are discerned within the context of nothing 
needing to be done. 

Since phenomena are not deliberately produced, they do not waver 
from the ground of being, their natural place of rest. Since they are 
spontaneously present within the enlightened intent of victorious 
ones, one rests — without moving, speaking, or thinking — in a state of 
equilibrium within supreme spontaneous presence, a wide-open clarity 
similar to the immensity of space. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Enlightenment, the nature of phenomena in which there is no 
acceptance or rejection, 

abides like space, and so cannot be contrived with body or mind. 

There is no fixation on ideas, so it cannot be cultivated 
in meditation. 

Utterly peaceful like space, free of all impurity, 
and involving no objects, enlightened intent is beyond 
any construct. 

And The Six Expanses states: 

In the nonconceptual nature of mind 

things appear naturally and ceaselessly, without being reified, 
and so are recognized as the realm of lucid, self-knowing 
awareness. 

In the nature of mind, which entails no deliberation, 

the manifestation of naturally abiding and spontaneous vastness 

is revealed by me, Samantabhadra, 

to be enlightened intent, the natural reversal of the four sounds. 

In the nature of mind, which entails no focusing of attention, 
what would cause it to stir manifests as naturally pure. 

This is revealed by me, Samantabhadra, 
to be meditative stability as the natural freedom that underlies 
reification. 

In the nature of mind, free of ordinary mental processes, 
profound insight that entails no deliberation 
is revealed by me, Samantabhadra, 

to be enlightened intent, the resolution of coming and going. 


Embracing the Larger Scope 

Now, all phenomena are timelessly embraced within supreme sponta- 
neous presence. First, everything is embraced within the purity of 
spontaneous presence: 

All phenomena are embraced within the larger scope 
of spontaneous presence. 

The entire world of appearances and possibilities is naturally 
manifest 15 and spontaneously present, 
all samsara and nirvana is spontaneously present as the display , 16 
and awakened mind is timelessly and spontaneously present, 
so all phenomena are nothing other than spontaneous presence. 

That is to say, the entire universe of appearances and possibilities is 
spontaneously present as the natural manifestation of mind, just as 
the naturally manifest appearances of the dream state are spontane- 
ously present. All phenomena of samsara and nirvana arise spontane- 
ously as the display that comes from the dynamic energy of aware- 
ness, just as lights of five colors shine from a crystal. And awareness — 
awakened mind — is timelessly and spontaneously present as supreme 
original purity, empty yet lucid. This is said to be “like space.” Cut- 
ting Through the Three Times states: 

The ground of all samsara and nirvana is awakened mind. 

The ground of awakened mind is spontaneously present. 

The essence of spontaneous presence is indeterminate. 

What is meaningful about spontaneous presence is that 
it is unborn, 

so unborn spontaneous presence is free of any time frame 
with a beginning or end. 

The essence of all samsara and nirvana is awakened mind. 

The essence of awakened mind arises indeterminately. 

The indeterminate ground is spontaneously present. 

What is meaningful about this indeterminacy is that it is unborn, 
so what is unborn is indeterminate and free of any time frame 
with a beginning or end. 

The ultimate meaning of all samsara and nirvana is awakened 
mind. 



1 86 The Way of Abiding 


1 HE 1 HEME OF SPONTANEOUS PRESENCE 187 


What is meaningful about awakened mind is that it is unborn. 

Its unborn nature is spontaneously present. 

The unborn essence is indeterminate. 

What is meaningful about what is unborn is that it does not come 
into existence, 

so the unborn, since it has never come into existence, is free of 
any time frame with a beginning or end. 

What truly characterizes all samsara and nirvana 
is awakened mind. 

What truly characterizes awakened mind is that it is without 
beginning or end. 

The beginningless and endless ground is spontaneously present. 

The beginningless and endless essence is indeterminate. 

What is meaningful about what is beginningless and endless 
is that it is unborn, 

so the very epitome of this does not abide in any specific way 
and is free of any time frame with a beginning or end. 

The way of abiding, beginningless and endless, 
cannot be achieved, 

so the way things arise, also without beginning or end, 
cannot be stopped. 

The way things are, beginningless and endless, 
cannot be labeled, 

so the way they are freed, also without beginning or end, 
is uninterrupted. 

The uninterrupted nature of phenomena is the expanse 
of evenness, 

so everything abides by its very nature within the expanse 
of evenness. 

In spontaneously present awareness, that spontaneous presence is 
shown to be naturally manifest in three ways, for it can be character- 
ized in three ways — as ground, essence, and ultimate meaningfulness. 

Spontaneous presence is revealed within the larger scope of its not en- 
tailing effort or achievement: 

Because the nature of mind is spontaneously present, 

the fundamental ground, the heart essence, is encompassed 
within awakened mind. 


Unsought through the ten attributes, it is spontaneously present, 
so there is no need to try 17 to develop view, meditation, 
or meditative absorption, 

no need to accomplish anything else through the usual process 
of causality, 

no need for the turmoil of hope and fear to arise. 

The immediacy of spontaneous presence truly is primordial 
dharmakaya. 

Since dharmakaya is timelessly ensured in the essence of aware- 
ness, without ever uniting with and then separating from it, there is no 
point in trying to accomplish this anew through view, meditation, 
conduct, and fruition that entail striving based on hope and fear, or 
through the stages of development and completion, activity, and so 
forth. In this regard, it is shown that there is nothing to be sought 
through the ten attributes. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Ah! The teacher of teachers, the all-creating monarch, 
bestows transmission on the retinue — uncontrived mind. 

You who are immersed in genuine being, who realize that 
everything without exception is unborn, 
do not strive within the context of the ten attributes. 

In the nature of all-creating awakened mind, 
knowing is not a knowing of object and subject, so there is 
nothing to be rejected. 

With mastery that comes through realization and abiding 
in the meaning, 

there is spontaneous presence in the enlightened intent 
of the all-creating monarch. 

The same source points out that none of this bears any similarity 
to the process of deliberate involvement with causality: 

The view and conduct of the Great Perfection 
are unlike anything accomplished through causality. 

The view and conduct of awakened mind are by nature 
like space, 

and space transcends conceptual analysis. 

For those who engage in conceptual analysis, 
enlightenment, which is like space, will not come about. 



188 The Way of Abiding 


I HE 1 HEME OF SPONTANEOUS PRESENCE 189 


Spontaneous presence is summarized as being unchanging: 

In the vast expanse of the nature of mind, the unchanging realm 
of space, 

although samsara and nirvana arise naturally from the expanse 
of the three kayas, 

they never waver from the expanse 18 of the three kayas. 

The display is indeterminate — a treasury of the magical 
expression of responsiveness. 

Since everything arises as a single state of wholly positive 
spontaneous presence, 

there is mastery over samsara and nirvana, for nothing wavers 
in the slightest from basic space. 

Since everything is wholly positive — there is nothing that is 
not positive — 

the basic space of the vajra heart essence is the spontaneous 
presence of everything. 

All phenomena are forever embraced within the larger scope 
of spontaneous presence. 

All phenomena of the world of appearances and possibilities, 
whether of samsara or nirvana, are such that they do not waver from 
the scope of awareness — the three kayas as a supreme state of sponta- 
neous presence. This is referred to as “the spontaneously present basic 
space of me, Samantabhadra, in which nothing need be done.” Over- 
whelming the Six Modes of Consciousness with Splendor states. 

Outwardly and inwardly things dwindle and multiply 
the dynamic energy of awakened mind. 

This is nothing whatsoever in itself , 19 but manifests as anything 
whatsoever, 

and so is marvelous, superb, free of anything needing to be done. 

Since there is mastery over samsara, nirvana, and all spiritual 
approaches, 

the oneness in which nothing need be done overwhelms 
everything with its splendor. 

There is nothing anywhere that could constitute a limitation. 

There is nowhere to stray from the single expanse in which 
nothing need be done. 


Within the very realm of Samantabhadra, free of anything 
needing to be done, 

samsara is wholly positive, nirvana is positive; 

there is never any samsara or nirvana in the expanse 
of Samantabhadra. 

Apparent phenomena are wholly positive, emptiness is positive 
in every way; 

there is never any appearance or emptiness in the expanse 
of Samantabhadra. 

Birth and death are wholly positive, happiness and suffering 
are positive in every way; 

there is no birth or death, no happiness or suffering, 
in the expanse of Samantabhadra. 

Self and other are wholly positive, affirmation and denial 
are positive in every way; 

there is no self or other, no affirmation or denial, in the expanse 
of Samantabhadra. 

Labeling occurs out of confusion, since what is ineffable 
is perceived to exist. 

Since everything arises as the single state of spontaneous 
presence, Samantabhadra, 

all limitations without exception are overwhelmed 
with splendor. 

Since all limitations without exception are one within 
basic space, 

this unparalleled oneness is the greatest of the great. 

The greatest of the great is the basic space of phenomena, 
Samantabhadra. 

Like a monarch, it overwhelms everything with its splendor, 

exerting mastery over all samsara and nirvana, 
without vacillating in the slightest. 

With everything wholly positive, even what seems not to be 
positive is positive. 

Without the distinction of positive or negative, there is oneness in 
the wholly positive. 

The wholly positive expanse is the scope of awareness — original 
purity, timeless awareness that occurs naturally and is empty yet lucid. 
Within this, even as such things as birth and death, happiness and suf- 



190 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Spontaneous Presence 


191 


fering, manifest, there are ways in which they arise, but nothing in the 
least has ever existed that undergoes birth or death, or causes happi- 
ness or suffering. Because these constitute the context and display of a 
single awareness, and because that awareness is not subject to birth or 
death, happiness or suffering, regardless of how things appear, their 
essence likewise has never existed. These are the manifest aspect of the 
nature of phenomena, originally pure and free of anything needing to 
be done. 

For this reason, since samsara, even as it manifests, does not exist, 
it is not something to be rejected; since nirvana, even as it manifests, 
does not exist, it is not something to be achieved. Since what is funda- 
mentally unconditioned, like space, entails no deliberate effort, the 
key point of all this is to abide without doing anything, resting in a 
state of equilibrium as ordinary consciousness falls away in the reso- 
lution of phenomena. 

Since there is no karma in the essence of awareness, the limitations 
of positive and negative action are transcended. If there were karma, 
this would entail the flaw of there being no naturally occurring time- 
less awareness. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

The label “karma” is applied to any specific pattern 
of correspondence. 

What does this imply? 

If karma held mastery, there would be no naturally occurring 
timeless awareness. 

You might object, “We know that there is karma because it manifests 
as suffering,” but although this manifestation occurs because of the 
way in which the display of awakened mind arises yet is unborn, it 
does not exist in naturally occurring timeless awareness. Similarly, al- 
though gathering clouds appear, they are merely the display or dy- 
namic energy of space; in the essence of space they do not exist. The 
same source states: 

The suffering of beings is awakened mind. 

The fullness of its display is due to its consummate nature. 

Since there is no avoiding this, abide in evenness, which is like 
limitless space. 


Coming to the Decisive Experience 

Now, in coming to the decisive experience of all phenomena as spon- 
taneously present, first one comes to a decisive experience of sponta- 
neous presence as inexpressible and beyond imagination: 

The decisive experience is, by its nature, that of spontaneous 
presence. 

Within that spontaneous presence, which has no specific nature 
and cannot be divided into outer or inner, 

all phenomena manifest naturally, are neither confirmed nor 
refuted, neither come nor go. 

The infinite expanse has no division into above or below. 

It is thoroughly indeterminate and completely unrestricted. 

It cannot be characterized as some “thing,” for it is inexpressible 
and beyond imagining. 

Awareness — awakened mind — is not to be confirmed or refuted, is 
without transition or change, and cannot be divided into outer or in- 
ner, above or below. So, regardless of what manifests, what arises, it 
constitutes basic space that is in essence beyond imagination and ex- 
pression. The Direct Encounter with the Three Kay as states: 

Awakened mind is the all-inclusive source. 

Awakened mind is nondual, since it is not made and then 
unmade. 

The basic space of phenomena is evenness, since there is no self 
or other. 

Awakened mind is innate responsiveness, expressing itself 
impartially in all ways. 

Awakened mind is enlightened activity, bringing consummate 
benefit to beings. 

The basic space of phenomena is unborn, since it undergoes no 
transition or change. 

Within the basic space of phenomena, regardless of what arises, 
whether high or low, 

awakened mind is never subject to hierarchy. 

Within the basic space of phenomena, regardless of what arises, 
whether outwardly or inwardly, 



The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Spontaneous Presence 193 


192 


there is never a division into outer and inner within the expanse 
in which nothing need be done. 

With no division into outer and inner, the nature of phenomena 
is an unobstructed expanse. 

Within the context of indivisibility, all conduct is the direct 
encounter. 

And The All-Illuminating Sphere states: 

The ultimate meaning of that which is unceasing and ineffable 
by nature — 

in looking one does not see it, and in seeking one does not find it. 
Outwardly and inwardly, or even on the outward level alone, 
there is no object to be conceptualized on even the most minute 
or profound level. 

One comes to a decisive experience of spontaneous presence as the ul- 
timate heart essence: 

Because phenomena are originally pure in essence 
and spontaneously present by their very nature, 
they are free of the limitations of the four alternatives 20 — 
existence, nonexistence, affirmation, or denial. 

This is the nature of nondual awakened mind. 

Given that all phenomena are encompassed within awareness, that 
awareness — awakened mind — is beyond the extreme of being af- 
firmed as something permanent, since it is empty in essence. It is be- 
yond the limitation of being denied to be anything, since it is lucid by 
nature. Beyond the confines of the four limitations — those of being 
existent, nonexistent, both, or neither — timeless spontaneous pres- 
ence is referred to as “original purity as the source, with nothing to be 
confirmed or refuted, and without transition or change.” The Rever- 
beration of Sound states: 

Thus, since everything is the nature of phenomena, 
there is nothing whatsoever to be accepted, 
nor is there the slightest thing to be rejected. 

The nature of phenomena is completely ineffable. 


And The Perfect Dynamic Energy of the Lion states: 

Buddhahood, free of the four limitations, is self-knowing 
awareness itself; 

dharmakaya is beyond existence or nonexistence, affirmation 
or denial. 

And The Six Expanses states: 

The essence itself is originally pure; 
the nature is spontaneously present. 

The meaning of the preceding section is shown more extensively: 

Original purity in its essence has never existed as anything; 
rather, its nature, like that of space, is primordially pure. 

Spontaneous presence in its essence has not been created 
by anyone; 

rather, its mode of arising is unceasing, so that anything 
whatsoever can manifest. 

The origin of all samsara and nirvana is atemporal, 
with no beginning or end. 

The very essence of awareness — original purity — is beyond the 
limitation of existence or nonexistence, and so is beyond being imag- 
ined or expressed in any way whatsoever. The Six Expanses states: 

Free of elaboration, the originally pure nature of phenomena 
is the quintessential ground of being, totally pure in its 
very essence. 

It transcends words and syllables. 

No definitive conclusion can be reached through description. 

It is free of all attempts to represent or elaborate on it. 

There are no dualistic thoughts. 

There are no buddhas, no ordinary beings, 
no phenomena, or any ideas about phenomena. 

There is nothing, there is nothing, there is nothing whatsoever. 

The nature of awareness is timelessly and spontaneously present as 
the ground for the arising of all samsara and nirvana. Its very essence 


i94 The Way of Abiding 


1 HE 1 HEME OE 3EUJN 1 AJN EU U b EKEbEJNUE 1^5 


has never existed as either samsara or nirvana, yet its dynamic energy 
and display do arise in any way whatsoever. The Tantra of the Su- 
preme Beauty of Auspiciousness states: 

Ah! Although there is no confusion in me, it is my dynamic en- 
ergy that gives rise to confusion. From the unchanging ground of 
being, the nature arises ceaselessly and naturally; nonrecognition 
of awareness occurs because innate responsiveness is not ascer- 
tained. To give an example, clouds do not really exist in the sky, 
for they occur adventitiously. Similarly, nonrecognition of aware- 
ness does not exist as something within the ground of being, yet 
that nonrecognition occurs naturally due to the mode of arising 
that is consistent with responsiveness. There is what is called “the 
way of abiding that is the spontaneously present ground of be- 
ing.” This, moreover, abides as an indeterminate manifestation. 
Furthermore, what is called the “the way of abiding of the pre- 
cious locket” arises in eight ways; it is an unceasing avenue for 
sensory experience. 

From this, apparent phenomena arise as samsara or nirvana. 
While samsara arises through the avenue of impurity and nirvana 
through that of purity, although they manifest as such within the 
scope of the very essence of awareness, that awareness does not vacil- 
late or change. Overwhelming the Six Modes of Consciousness with 
Splendor states: 

Although samsara and nirvana arise naturally from the expanse 
of the three kayas, 

they never waver from the basic space of the three kayas. 

One comes to a decisive experience of the spontaneous presence of all 
that occurs: 

Spontaneous presence, unborn and indeterminate, is the ultimate 
ground of being. 

The way things arise, without beginning or end, cannot be 
suppressed. 

The way things are, without beginning or end, has no frame 
of reference. 


The way things are freed, ineffable by nature, is uninterrupted. 

Following the point at which things arise, one comes to a decisive 
experience. 

This is known as “dissolution into dharmakaya — resolution 
within the ground of being as basic space.” 

All phenomena arise initially from the unceasing expanse of spon- 
taneously present awareness. Thereafter, they continue to manifest in 
light of awareness. Finally, they are freed, vanishing within the ex- 
panse of awareness — awakened mind — as unchanging spontaneous 
presence. Since there is no deviation from this process, “their depar- 
ture is guaranteed,” so to speak; they converge within the single sphere 
of dharmakaya without edges or corners. Cutting Through the Three 
Times , by the great master Garab Dorje, states: 

The ground of being, without beginning or end, 
is spontaneously present. 

The way things arise, without beginning or end, 
cannot be suppressed. 

The way things are, without beginning or end, 
has no specific frame of reference. 

The way things are freed, without beginning or end, 
is uninterrupted. 

Without interruption, the nature of phenomena is the 
expanse of evenness. 

Everything abides naturally within the expanse 21 of evenness. 

In the single nature of phenomena, there is no question 
of whether or not there is evenness. 

Because the realm of evenness is uninterrupted, 

ongoing ultimate truth, without extremes, is the fortress 
of the sky above. 

Since the four limitations are negated in the single state 
of spontaneous presence, 

infinite extension without extremes is the fortress 
of the earth below . 22 

Owing to the connection between the directions — above, 
below, and every point in between — 

victorious ones speak of the “fortress of blending these 
in the open space between.” 

Unbiased and all-accommodating view is termed “fortress,” 



1^0 1 HE WAY OF ABIDING 


1 he Theme of Spontaneous Presence 197 


the bastion of awareness — awakened mind — 
is termed “stronghold,” 

the expanse of the unborn basic space of phenomena 
is termed “domain,” 

naturally occurring timeless awareness, surpassing ordinary 
experience, is termed “entitlement,” 
and the razor’s edge of what is indeterminate and naturally 
arising is termed “weapon.” 

The whirling blade of spontaneous presence, equal in all 
circumstances, 

cuts completely through the limitations of making things 
determinate, 

so the sphere without edges or corners is all-embracing. 

There is freedom within the expanse that cannot be sought 
and is indivisible. 

Thus, in the context of spontaneous presence arising equally in all 
circumstances, maintain your experience of its naturally manifest 
quality without making distinctions. So, when you become free of the 
confines of the physical body at death, the outer and inner display of 
confusion dissolves into its “mother” aspect, the nature of phenom- 
ena. When you perceive spontaneous presence in light of the ground 
of being as it manifests, there is natural freedom, for you reach a turn- 
ing point through the instructions on recognizing this as manifesting 
naturally. The victory of the razor-sharp weapon of instructions for 
recognizing what is the very essence and of the whirling blade of the 
natural manifestation of spontaneous presence brings freedom in 
original basic space. This is referred to as “convergence within the 
unique sphere, dharmakaya.” 

One comes to a decisive experience of the ultimate meaning of this 
process of dissolution: 

Just as 23 clouds occurring in the sky dissolve therein 
and the light from a crystal disappears into the crystal, 
so all of samsara and nirvana — the manifestation of the ground 
of being that arises from that ground — 
holds to its own place of original purity within 24 the essence, 
the ground of being. 


The supreme decisive experience concerning all phenomena 
is that they are encompassed within basic space — spontaneous 
presence as the natural place of rest. 

All elaborations dissolve naturally in the nonconceptual 
expanse. 

Fundamentally, dynamic energy arises ceaselessly from spontane- 
ous presence, so that what manifests in the moment as the confusion 
of samsara arises through the avenues of the senses as the complex 
universe of dualistic perceptions. One comes to a decision about this 
through view, maintains the continuity of this view through medita- 
tion, dispels constraints through conduct, and, as the fruition, aban- 
dons hope and fear. Thus, when one immersed in genuine being be- 
comes free of the confines of the physical body, dualistic perceptions 
that manifest as confusion dissipate in and of themselves. When, over 
a period of five “days” following death, the manifest realm of nirvana 
arises as the kayas and timeless awareness, it is recognized for what it 
is, so that this manifest realm of spontaneous presence dissolves into 
the essence and there is freedom in primordial being. That which for- 
merly manifested as the confusion of samsara ceases like a cloud van- 
ishing in the sky, while the manifest realm of nirvana dissolves like 
light from a crystal disappearing back into it. Just as discursive 
thoughts are freed in their emptiness, thought patterns — the contents 
of ordinary mind — fade. There is awakening to buddhahood in the 
original ground of being. That is to say, although dharmakaya (as the 
essence of awareness) and rupakaya (as its natural radiance) are spon- 
taneously present, the bonds of the physical body make it impossible 
for them to manifest. When one is free of this physical body, they 
manifest and hold to their own place in original purity. The Perfect 
Dynamic Energy of the Lion states: 

In the bodies of all ordinary beings 
abides the pure vision of timeless awareness, 
but it cannot manifest on a grand scale. 

For example, that which is within the confines of a womb 
or an egg 

is not evident, but obscured. 

Once its own energy is perfected, however, it emerges. 



I9« 1HE WAY OF ABIDING 

Similarly, as soon as this body born of discursive thought 
has been cast aside, 

one encounters the realm of naturally manifest appearances. 
Self-knowing awareness, abiding timelessly, 
perceives the essence nonconceptually. 

The pure vision of timeless awareness 
and the truth of buddhahood are perceived. 

However samsara and nirvana manifest in their respective ways in 
light of awareness, by their very nature they are equal. In particular, 
consider the way in which they arise. Both the naturally manifest ap- 
pearances of samsara (the myriad variety of the universe that mani- 
fests at present) and the manifestations of nirvana (the kayas and 
timeless awareness that manifest in the intermediate state after death) 
are empty appearances, equal in that they arise from basic space and 
are freed in basic space. This is how you should understand “the 
equalness of samsara and nirvana.” 

The nature of two decisive experiences is shown: 

With the dissolution of the six modes of consciousness within 
their natural place of rest, dharmakaya, 
whatever appears at present — all that manifests as objects — 
is a single evenness outwardly and inwardly, experienced 
decisively within the basic space of spontaneous presence. 

One comes to the ultimate decisive experience of everything — 
whether of samsara or nirvana, whether naturally manifest 
or even nonmanifest — 

within the fully awakened state of enlightenment. 

In the same way, one comes to the moment-by-moment decisive 
experience of what is innately pristine, 25 empty yet lucid, 
by letting the busyness of apparent phenomena and mind 26 
rest naturally in the lucid expanse, 
so that there is utter relaxation, nonconceptual and free 
of elaboration. 

This is “abiding firmly within the precious enclosure.” 

Since one comes to the decisive experience of everything as pre- 
cious spontaneous presence, even as things appear moment by mo- 


1 HE 1 HEME OF SPONTANEOUS PRESENCE 199 

ment to the five senses and to discursive mind as the sixth “sense,” 
one rests without contriving or distorting, complicating or simplifying 
them. Thus, awareness, empty yet lucid, like space in being without 
limit or center, is completely awakened as unobstructed lucidity and 
purity. Since it is inseparably linked with the space of spontaneous 
presence — the profound lucidity of dharmakaya — and no longer hin- 
dered by anything corporeal, it blends with that precious spontaneous 
presence. This is similar to the space within a room merging with the 
vast space outside when a door is opened. Resting with the eyes open 
and alert, like an open door, one merges with awareness that is open 
and alert. When one becomes free of the physical body, three factors 
blend inseparably in a single spontaneous presence; this is similar to 
the three aspects of outer, inner, and intermediate space blending as 
one when a house is torn down. 

Those of the very highest acumen become free in this, awakening 
to buddhahood in an unobstructed ascent, without any intermediate 
state after death. This is the consummate method of freedom in spon- 
taneous presence. As The All-Illuminating Sphere states: 

For those of the very highest acumen, 
what is supreme in always being unobstructed 
entails no intermediate state, not even for an instant, 
but is rather an abiding moment by moment. 

The essence, the pure nature of phenomena, 
abides in the space of natural purity. 

Awareness arises without obstruction; 
this is not in fact an arising, but an abiding. 

9 For example, in unobstructed space, 

artificial boundaries are imposed by the construction 
of a building, 

the space within the building divided from naturally pure space. 
Undifferentiated through an open doorway, 
these two “spaces” are clearly without separation. 

In being connected by the doorway of timeless awareness, 
the two aspects — awareness as it is hemmed in 
by habitual patterns 
and awareness as it abides in space — 
abide in supreme and unobstructed nonduality 



200 1HE WAY OF ABIDING 


I HE lHEME OF SPONTANEOUS PRESENCE 201 


when the physical body that results from habitual patterns 
has been removed as a hindrance. 

If one experiences the supreme meaning of such understanding, 

then just as a lion bounds over the earth with its leap, 

supreme and unobstructed timeless awareness 

breaks through to the precious enclosure, 

without some intermediate state beginning and then ending. 

Thus, there is abiding in supreme timeless freedom. 

The spontaneously present “mother” aspect of utter lucidity is the 
ground aspect of awareness, which is empty yet lucid and unborn; the 
naturally occurring “child” aspect of utter lucidity is naturally unsul- 
lied, unborn, and empty. These two aspects, intimately linked though 
distinguished as lucidity and subtle limpidness, blend as one at the 
point of separation from the physical body. However, they are not in 
fact different “awarenesses” for, given that the mother aspect holds to 
its own place in the natural state of rest, it is only a matter of whether 
or not there has been separation from the confines of the physical 
body. The “doorway of timeless awareness” opens through awareness 
that elicits a subtle and pristine quality. The metaphor is that of a re- 
union between mother and child. 

The decisive experience is pith instruction in its ultimate sense: 

If you do not come to a decisive experience now in basic space, 
the natural place of rest, 

freedom in the original ground of being will not come about 
in the future. 

Rigid meditative stability, with no freedom in the ground 
of being as basic space, 

affords no chance to attain liberation, only rebirth as a god 
in a higher realm. 

Thus, it is crucial to come to a decisive experience — 
an instantaneous and naturally abiding meditative absorption — 
within inner basic space, now and in the future. 

If in this life you do not recognize natural meditative stability in its 
place of original purity, then even though your meditation is stable it 
is similar to that of a god in a realm of meditative stability. This can- 


not bring you freedom, but will only bind you once again and cause 
you to take rebirth in one of the higher realms. The Commentary on 
the Oral Lineage states: 

Although you understand meditation, you don’t understand 
freedom. 

How are you different from a god in a realm of meditative 
stability? 

Therefore, since awareness holds to its own place in inner basic 
space, empty yet lucid, it blends inseparably with precious dhar- 
makaya — spontaneous presence — as soon as the body is cast aside. 
The two manifestations of rupakaya then spontaneously ensure the 
welfare of beings. That is to say, one holds to the enlightened intent of 
“the one who rides the wind effortlessly,” and when respiration 
ceases — after one exhales for the last time and cannot inhale again — 
awareness, inwardly lucid, becomes free of subtle energy. Thus, in the 
absence of the ordinary mind of habitual patterns, the enlightened in- 
tent of dharmakaya arises — a deeply indwelling lucidity like that of 
space. With recognition of this as the very essence, one instantly 
awakens to buddhahood in an unobstructed leap. The Natural Free- 
dom That Underlies Characteristics states: 

For example, the great garuda, most majestic of birds, 

though yet unhatched overwhelms nagas with its splendor. 

Its wings reach full development while still within the egg. 

Once freed from the confines of the shell, it soars far above 
the earth. 

How could this be easy for other birds? How could it be so? 

But it is so for the great garuda, who is completely at ease 
in the sky. 

There is freedom whether or not one realizes it. 

Evenness means there is no distinction between present 
and future lives, 

and the realm of evenness is uninterrupted. 

For those who believe that freedom comes about through the nine 
spiritual approaches 

or believe in thorough training, renunciation, or transformation, 

whatever they believe accords with the supreme approach itself. 



zoz The Way of Abiding 


I HE IFLEME OF SPONTANEOUS rKtStJNLt j 


Why does it accord? Everything is supreme bliss, the expanse 
of dharmakaya, 

and there is nothing that is not free within the expanse 
of dharmakaya. 

The nature of phenomena is naturally arising, the kaya 
of the vajra heart essence. 

The dynamic energy of this heart essence is perfect within any 
embodiment based on habitual patterns. 

Even though that embodiment is cast off, awareness is not subject 
to birth, death, or the intermediate state, 
for it alone is inseparable from everything, 
so emanations occur without restriction 
and are active everywhere without impediment. 

This is the depth of immersion in genuine being — “the one who 
rides the wind effortlessly.” 

It does not apply to any inferior spiritual approaches. 

The discovery that it applies to ati is the key point of fruition. 

Even while confined within its shell, the garuda suppresses the 
many kinds of nagas with its splendor and has the ability to soar in 
the sky, since its strong wings are already fully developed. Similarly, 
by engaging in the most majestic of spiritual approaches, one im- 
mersed in genuine being overwhelms the other eight approaches, and 
has the ability to cross the abyss of samsara through realization and 
so dance in the sky of the nature of phenomena. Just as the garuda 
flies as soon as it hatches, one immersed in genuine being awakens to 
buddhahood upon being freed from the confines of the physical body. 

In summary: 

One comes to a decisive experience of all possible phenomena 
in the spontaneous presence of awareness. 

One comes to a decisive experience of spontaneous presence 
in its natural place of rest, supreme original purity. 

One comes to a decisive experience of original purity — 
inconceivable, unimaginable, and inexpressible. 

This is the decisive experience of spontaneous presence. 

Since all phenomena come from awareness, one comes to a deci- 
sive experience of them within the scope of spontaneously present 


awareness. One comes to a decisive experience of spontaneous pres- 
ence in dharmakaya, its natural place of rest, the inner basic space of 
original purity. And one comes to a decisive experience of original pu- 
rity, free of limits, as the supreme ground of freedom beyond imagina- 
tion or expression. The Pearl Garland states: 

Freedom is that which is at the beginning. 

And The Natural Freedom That Underlies Characteristics states: 

There is no differentiation or exclusion — freedom in the expanse 
of spontaneous presence. 

This is not made and then unmade — freedom in the expanse 
of the sphere of being. 


Within the expanse of spontaneous presence, awakened mind, 
phenomena are always naturally arising and naturally free — 
primordial basic space. 

The nature of the single sphere of being, the ultimate meaning 
of the heart essence, 

has been explained in this precious commentary that analyzes 
the third topic. 

Gods who side with what is good, oath-bound guardians, 
vajra heirs who are masters of awareness with dynamic intention, 
oceans of dakas and dakinis, deities who gain sublime spiritual 
attainments, 

and hosts of gurus who are our glorious protectors — 
rejoice in this! 

From The Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding, this is the com- 
mentary on the third vajra topic, reaching the definitive conclusion 
concerning the timeless and spontaneous presence of all phenomena. 



4 


The Theme of Oneness 


Next, all phenomena are shown to be one in naturally occurring time- 
less awareness. This is considered under four headings: revealing the 
key point, discerning the implications, embracing the larger scope, 
and coming to the decisive experience. 

Revealing the Key Point 

To reveal the key point, all phenomena are first shown to have the 
same source: 

Next, the nature of oneness is revealed. 

Awareness — oneness — is the ground of all phenomena. 

Although there is the appearance of multiplicity, to say that 
there is no wavering from oneness 
is to say that naturally occurring timeless awareness is the 
single source. 

Although fire and water manifest 1 separately 
from a single gem under specific circumstances, 
their source — the pure gem — is the same. 

Similarly, although both samsara and nirvana arise from oneness, 
self-knowing awareness, 

their source — ultimate awakened mind — is the same. 

There is simply the illusion of difference based on whether 
or not awareness is recognized. 

Fire or water comes from a single gem because of the specific prop- 
erties of the sunlight or moonlight shining on it. Similarly, there are 

2.05 



20 6 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Oneness 207 


different manifestations: samsara, due to nonrecognition of the very 
essence of awareness, and nirvana, due to recognition. Although they 
are the display, or the arising mode, of a single awareness, in their es- 
sence they neither separate nor waver from it. The All-Creating Mon- 
arch states: 

All phenomena are identical in their source, awakened mind. 

From the standpoint of enlightenment — the heart essence 
that is the source of everything — 
buddhas, ordinary beings, and the entire universe of appearances 
and possibilities 

do not exist as any one thing, yet any attempt to quantify them 
would be endless. 

The enlightened forms and speech of buddhas, and the bodies 
and speech of ordinary beings, 
are awakened mind, timelessly free of dualistic perception. 

That which is, in its own right, free of duality 
allows for the occurrence of everything, for it serves as the source 
of phenomena. 

Everything is shown to be of one basic space, naturally occurring time- 
less awareness: 

All things that appear in light of awareness — 
the world of appearances and possibilities, whether of samsara 
or nirvana — 

even as they manifest are one in emptiness, their very essence . 2 
Like dream images, illusions, or the moon’s reflection on water, 
like awareness in the four visions, and like surrounding space 
that has no substance, 

they are one in being timelessly and totally empty, 
free of elaboration. 

Since everything is of one basic space, primordially pure, 
there is no abiding as “two,” for all is encompassed within 
the single sphere. 

Dharmakaya is without edges or corners. How marvelous! 

All phenomena of the world of appearances and possibilities, 
clearly apparent yet ineffable, are of one basic space in emptiness. The 
essence of awareness itself is like space, a single expanse that is free of 


elaboration, empty yet lucid. The emptiness of awareness and that of 
apparent phenomena are indivisible, of one taste in the unique non- 
dual sphere of uninterrupted emptiness. This is referred to as “having 
the same source within the basic space of dharmakaya, the unique 
sphere without edges or corners.” The All-Creating Monarch states: 

The source of all phenomena is all-creating awakened mind. 

Whatever manifests is my essence, whatever occurs is my 
magical display. 

The simultaneity of purity and equalness is shown to be naturally oc- 
curring timeless awareness: 

Although the five elements manifest , 3 they are the realm 
of awakened mind. 

Never born, they do not waver from the single state of equalness. 

Although manifesting in conditioned existence, the six kinds 
of beings are forms of emptiness. 

The ground of being as it manifests does not waver from 
the scope of awareness. 

Although happiness and suffering manifest, they are within 
the heart essence of enlightenment, 

not wavering from a single, naturally occurring timeless 
awareness. 

Therefore, phenomena are of one basic space — the realm 
of emptiness. 

You should know them to be unborn awakened mind. 

All that manifests as the five elements arises within the scope of 
awareness, manifests within that scope, and is freed within that scope. 
All that manifests as ordinary beings arises within that scope, mani- 
fests within that scope, and is freed within that scope. Thus, these are 
natural forms of emptiness. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Ah, great and courageous one, mind is the essence of what 
simply is. 

What simply is — nondual and supremely blissful — 

supports all distinct manifestations, yet is itself utterly without 
distinct features. 

Abiding timelessly like space, free of elaboration, 



2o8 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Oneness 209 


beyond any frame of reference, it is “one” in that it cannot 
be enumerated. 

While awakened mind cannot be quantified or characterized, 
phenomena created by mind come about in infinite variety. 

“What is created by mind,” you ask? 

I have revealed that buddhas, ordinary beings, and the universe 
of appearances and possibilities 
are created from the essence — the nature of mind — 
and so become evident. 

The manifestation of the five great elements and the six kinds 
of beings, 

as well as the two aspects of rupakaya that ensure their benefit, 
constitute the nature of mind emerging in all its multiplicity. 

Thus, awareness, empty yet lucid like space, is primordially pure 
dharmakaya, supreme emptiness that supports all distinct manifesta- 
tions, utter lucidity endowed with the sublime capacity for all those 
manifestations. Within this scope, naturally manifest dynamic energy 
can and does manifest in any way whatsoever, as the impure mode of 
samsara or the pure mode of nirvana. Nevertheless, the ground of be- 
ing as it manifests does not waver from the scope of awareness and, 
although perceived as impure, has never actually partaken of exist- 
ence, but is timelessly awakened, with this manifest mode pure as the 
three kayas. The Reverberation of Sound states: 

Moreover, owing to their circumstances, among ordinary beings 
there is not a single one who is not a buddha. 

Because their nature is in harmony with naturally occurring 4 
timeless awareness, 
samsara is never something existent. 

Therefore, each being is naturally a buddha. 

Once one realizes what the process of birth really is, 
abiding in the womb is the basic space of phenomena, 
the coming together of body and mind is the connection 
between basic space and awareness, 
and abiding in the body is the three kayas. 

Aging is the falling away of phenomena and the end 
of appearances based on confusion, 
illness is the experience of the nature of phenomena, 


and death is emptiness, impossible to identify. 

Therefore, ordinary beings are buddhas. 

The sublime abode of awareness is shown to be the vast expanse of 
being: 

The unique enlightened intent of victorious ones of the 
three times 

dwells within this ultimate basic space, the vast expanse 
of self-knowing awareness. 

It cannot be thought of as multiple, for it is free of 
fragmenting elaborations. 

Truly it is the palace of the unwavering heart essence 
of enlightenment, 

where nothing but naturally occurring timeless awareness dwells. 

The essence of awareness — original purity that is the ultimate ba- 
sic space of supreme emptiness — is the very essence of dharmakaya, 
free of elaboration. This is spoken of as the sacred palace of naturally 
occurring timeless awareness, the heart essence of enlightenment. The 
AU-Creating Monarch states: 

My nature is indivisible and free of elaboration, 

so this abode, the basic space of phenomena, was created by me. 

Nothing but enlightenment dwells therein. 

My nature is unobscured and all-pervasive, 
so the space of lucidity is the immeasurable mansion 
of timeless awareness, 

where nothing but naturally occurring timeless awareness dwells. 

This itself is shown to be the basic space from which samsara, nir- 
vana, and the three kayas arise: 

The precious treasury of phenomena is a gem that fulfills 
all wishes. 

This is truly the pure realm of victorious ones, 
the three spontaneously present kayas. 

The scope of awareness is the pure realm of all victorious ones. 
Even though, due to the nonrecognition of awareness, the six states of 



ZIO 1 HE WAY OF ABIDING 


The Theme of Oneness zii 


ordinary beings manifest as samsara, this is the natural manifestation 
of the three kayas. Even though, in the pure mode, there is the mani- 
festation of nirvana, this too is the natural manifestation of the three 
kayas. Nothing is beyond the nondual mandala of the three kayas. 
The Reverberation of Sound states: 

Moreover, since all beings of the three realms 

are not beyond body, speech, and mind, 

there is no need to seek the three kayas elsewhere. 

Even though they are sought, there is no chance 
they will be found. 

They never have been and never will be — 
how truly marvelous it is to see this by looking. 

This truly marvelous display cannot be divided into buddhas 
and ordinary beings. 

Like clouds in the sky, it is naturally occurring and peaceful 
in its natural perfection . 5 

And The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Since I myself am the very heart from which everything arises, 
the five great elements, the three realms, and the six kinds 
of beings 

are none other than my enlightened form, speech, and mind, 
and so they are my nature, my array. 

And The Vajra Fortress , by the great master Garab Dorje, states: 

Within dharmakaya — unchanging, nonexistent as an object, 
and extending infinitely — 
the arising of the animate and inanimate universe 
is sambhogakaya, 

while apparent phenomena, manifesting like reflections, 
are nirmanakaya. 

Since there is no phenomenon that is not perfect as the adornment 
of the three kayas, 

everything arises from enlightened form, speech, and mind. 

Without exception, countless pure realms of buddhas — 
those who reach the state of bliss — 
come about in the same way, so the nature of mind is the expanse 
of the three kayas. 


The root of samsara, of the six “cities” of beings, comes about 
in the same way, 

so habitual patterns lead to the narrow confines of the body. 

Even the suffering that occurs within the dualistic framework 
of birth and death 

is freedom within the expanse of mind and body, so there is no 
transition or change. 

Since mind has no birth or death, it is like space. 

Since the body has no essence, it is like a bubble on water. 

Since mind and body are nondual, they are vajra-like. 

Since everything is already awakened within the vajra 
heart essence, 

no negative conditions cause harm, for there is nothing 
to be destroyed. 

The enlightened embodiment of Vajradhara — 

unchanging and indestructible, like a majestic ruler — 

remains unseen by anyone. 

The source is shown to be oneness: 

The unique vast expanse is not created by anyone. 

All things that emerge from it — all possible phenomena without 
exception — 

are one within the fundamental ground from which they emerge, 
since causality is negated. 

Suchness itself, empty yet lucid, is the supremely spacious nature 
of phenomena, 

evident as pure space without extremes or biases. 

When you examine what takes place and how, all the attempts you 
make to put an end to samsara and achieve nirvana come down to 
empty yet lucid awareness. This is the unobstructed resolution of phe- 
nomena in all its nakedness, as pure as the spacious sky. The Tantra 
Without Letters states: 

The ultimate essence, awareness itself, is not created; 
how could there be a creator? 

It is not contrived; there is no one to contrive it. 

Not a specific point of view, it is free of any point from which 
to view. 



2i2 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Oneness 213 


Not a state of perception, it is a totally lucid avenue of “seeing.” 

Not that which makes things manifest, it is free of any tendency 
to manifest. 

Not something that diminishes, it pervades the ten directions 
without impediment. 

Not involving effort, it is beyond striving or achievement. 

Not one thing, it is nevertheless free of multiplicity. 

Not entailing a specific standpoint, it transcends both affirmation 
and denial. 

Awareness — oneness — is shown to be the basic space of phenomena: 

Although the single naturally occurring state creates all samsara 
and nirvana, 

without anyone creating awareness, which is the source, 

it abides like space, beyond deliberate effort. 

With this metaphor and its underlying meaning in harmony, 
all value judgments concerning diverse phenomena 

are pacified within the vast expanse of a single basic space. 

Through a failure to realize awakened mind — awareness that is 
like space — samsara is created, manifesting as the universe. Through 
such realization, nirvana is created, manifesting as the kayas and time- 
less awareness. Although awareness creates everything, this aware- 
ness is unique in not being created by anything, abiding timelessly as 
spontaneous presence. Understanding is brought about through the 
metaphor of space, the underlying meaning as awareness, and the ex- 
pressions that arise ceaselessly from awakened mind as evidence of its 
presence. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

I am the teacher, all-creating awakened mind. 

Awakened mind is the all-creating monarch. 

Awakened mind creates the buddhas of the three times. 

Awakened mind creates the beings of the three realms. 

Awakened mind creates the universe of all appearances 
and possibilities. 

It creates harmony between cause and result, between metaphor, 
underlying meaning, and rationale. 

From the perspective of cause, it creates the five great elements. 


From the perspective of result, it creates the beings 
of the three realms. 

From the perspective of metaphor, space serves as the 
universal metaphor. 

From the perspective of underlying meaning, its unborn quality 
serves as the universal meaning. 

From the perspective of its evidence, awakened mind 
is all-creating. 

From the perspective of its rationale, naturally occurring 
timeless awareness can be demonstrated. 

It creates harmony between cause and result, between metaphor 
underlying meaning, and rationale. 

Awakened mind creates everything, but it alone remains 
uncreated. 

Everything created is created through the nature of awakened 
mind, 

which alone remains uncreated and so need not be created. 

Without realization of the nature of me, the all-creating one, 

there is exhaustive labeling of my creations, 

so that apparent phenomena are entrenched by powerful 
attachment. 

Impermanent, they are illusory by nature and so will disintegrate. 

The situation is like that of a blind person who cannot see what is 
going on. 

The essence of awareness is shown to be beyond imagination and ex- 
pression: 

Within the ultimate heart essence, which transcends existence 
and nonexistence, 

all phenomena are unceasing, and regardless of the display 
that arises I * * * * 6 

their very essence is the unimaginable and inexpressible expanse. 

This is truly beyond all conventional expression and description. 

Regardless of what arises within the scope of awareness, whether 
samsara or nirvana, in essence it is the supreme manifestation of the 
ground of being as apparent phenomena, which has never existed as 
anything within naturally occurring timeless awareness — the natural 



2i4 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Oneness 215 


place of rest as original purity, spontaneously present basic space. The 
Pearl Garland states: 

In original purity, purity from the very beginning, 
not even the word “confusion” can be expressed. 

Similarly, how could there be a lack of confusion? 

Therefore, confusion is primordially pure. 

In the supreme manifestation of the ground of being 
as apparent phenomena, 

there is nothing to be labeled “nonrecognition,” so confusion 
has never existed. 

Since what is termed “ordinary consciousness” is not something 
to be labeled in any way, 

even the term “confusing distortions” does not exist. 

Since there are no words, syllables, or phrases, 
the confusion of labeling does not exist. 

Since consciousness of phenomena cannot be labeled, 
even the expression “confusion due to mental labeling” 
does not exist. 

Since nothing has ever existed as ordinary mind 
or consciousness, 

inevitably there is no confusion that stirs the mind. 

Since there are neither coarse nor subtle distortions, 
inevitably there is no perpetuating force of confusion. 

Since there is neither anything to be done nor the doing, 
how could there be confusion that reifies objects? 

Since there are neither sense objects nor sense faculties, 
there is no confusion due to dualistic perception. 

Although all things manifest within a single awareness, they are shown 
not to waver from that oneness: 

From the standpoint of enlightenment, the heart essence 
from which everything arises, 
there is no duality, and any attempt to quantify things 
would be endless . 7 

Buddhas, ordinary beings, and the universe of appearances 
and possibilities are evident, 
yet do not waver from the single nature of phenomena, 
just as it is. 


Within the scope of the completely ineffable essence of a single 
awareness, the world of appearances and possibilities — samsara and 
nirvana — arises in inconceivable and countless ways, but in arising it 
does not go beyond that nondual scope. The All-Creating Monarch 
states: 

From the standpoint of enlightenment, the heart essence that is 
the source of everything, 

these do not exist as any one thing, yet any attempt to quantify 
them would be endless. 

The enlightened forms and speech of buddhas, and the bodies 
and speech of ordinary beings, 

are awakened mind, tunelessly free of dualistic perception. 

The conclusion to this section is drawn within oneness — that is, 
awareness: 

Everything is connected in oneness — the perfection 
of phenomena. 

This is the supreme quality of awakened mind. 

When anything manifests, cut through all conventional 8 
exaggeration. 

All outer phenomena 9 are to be known as the inherent radiance 10 
of the nature of mind, empty and nondual, 

while inner phenomena are nothing other than awareness 
as such. 

Within the nature of phenomena, nonexistent as one or many, 

the realization of a single basic space 11 is revealed to be 
the key point of awareness. 

All phenomena that manifest as outer sense objects are known to 
be the inherent radiance of awareness, its unceasing quality like light 
from a crystal globe. So there is freedom from ordinary consciousness, 
which takes them to be “other”; such reified objects have never ex- 
isted. The inner phenomenon of awareness exposed in all its naked- 
ness is understood to be like that globe. Thus, ordinary mind that is 
reified as a subject does not exist, and so phenomena are resolved 
within original purity. The nonduality of objects and mind is realized 
to be the basic space of the naturally manifest display of awakened 



2i 6 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Oneness 


mind. Thus, all phenomena are of a single taste within oneness — natu- 
rally occurring timeless awareness. The Tantra of Naturally Occur- 
ring Perfection: The River of Empowerment states: 

Dharmakaya — the scope of emptiness, 

naturally occurring timeless awareness, nonconceptual 
basic space — 

is revealed to be the heart essence of awareness, empty yet lucid. 

Empty timeless awareness, ineffable by nature, 

and spontaneously present phenomena constitute 
great perfection. 

And The Direct Encounter with the Three Kayas states: 

The basic space of phenomena is a precious wish-fulfilling gem. 

Since everything occurs naturally without effort, 

naturally occurring timeless awareness is the splendor that fulfills 
all wishes. 

Awakened mind is the all-inclusive source. 

Awakened mind is nondual, since it is neither made nor unmade. 

The basic space of phenomena is evenness, since there is no self 
or other. 

Discerning the Implications 

Now the implications of everything as a single state of naturally oc- 
curring timeless awareness can be discerned. One implication that can 
be discerned is that consciousness and apparent phenomena in them- 
selves constitute this naturally occurring awareness: 

One implication that can be discerned is that all phenomena 
are of one taste. 

All apparent objects are unreal appearances — the realm 
of emptiness. 

Regardless of how things appear, rest within what is singularly 
uncontrived. 

The unique simultaneity of emptiness and lucidity arises in the 
immediacy of whatever manifests. 

When anything manifests, rest in naturally unsullied awareness, in 
a supreme state without reification, lucid and unceasing. With this, 


z i7 

the nature of phenomena arises, empty yet lucid and free of elabora- 
tion. The Great Garuda states: 

The implications of supreme and naturally occurring relaxation 
within the immediacy of apparent phenomena and consciousness 
can be discerned within the “interval” between cause and effect, 
naturally arising and free of elaboration. 

And The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Completely pure meditative absorption in the unborn nature 
of everything 

does not depend on circumstances, on whether or not 
one is meditating. 

The focus of meditation is all phenomena, however they 
manifest. 

Since there is no technique that specifies how or where to rest, 
one meditates by resting in the natural state, without seeking. 

And The Six Expanses states: 

In the nature of mind, which has nothing to do with reification, 
the manifestation of apparent phenomena, unceasing and pure, 
is revealed by me, Samantabhadra, 
to be meditative absorption in the supreme display. 

Another implication that can be discerned is that the simultaneous 
arising and freeing of thoughts constitutes naturally occurring time- 
less awareness: 

All thought patterns involving ordinary mind and apparent 
phenomena fade away naturally 12 — the realm of emptiness. 

However the mind stirs , 13 rest gently in utter relaxation. 

The nature of phenomena is evident as enlightened intent 14 
in the immediacy of the mind stirring and thoughts proliferating. 

However the mind stirs, if this is understood to be the display of 
naturally occurring timeless awareness (like waves on water), just by 
one’s letting go, freedom comes about in the nonduality of mental 
states of abiding and stirring. The Great Garuda states: 



21 8 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Oneness 


219 


The implications of whatever manifests being the miraculous 
display of ordinary, conceptual mind 
can be discerned within the “interval” between phenomena 
and the conceptual process. 

And The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Within enlightenment — the nature of phenomena that cannot 
be cultivated in meditation — 

there is no duality of meditation and something upon which 
to meditate, 

so one meditates by resting naturally without deliberately 
meditating. 

Ultimate reality, the meaning underlying everything, is unborn. 

With the awareness that discursive thoughts and characteristics 
are likewise, 

not a single ordinary thought process that stirs the mind 
ever diverges from the context of being unborn. 

So, however thought occurs, if one understands that this 
is meditation 

there is no distraction, regardless of what transpires, even if one 
does not try to meditate. 

And The Six Expanses states: 

In the nature of mind, which entails no focusing of attention, 
what would cause it to stir manifests as naturally pure. 

This is revealed by me, Samantabhadra, 
to be meditative stability as the natural freedom that 
underlies reification. 

Another implication that can be discerned is that mental states of 
abiding and stirring do not constitute a duality: 

In the natural context of evenness, with no split between objects 
and mind, 

rest 15 free of any framework, with naturally pristine perception 
that leaves no trace. 

Timeless awareness— profound insight— is evident within the 
ultimate state of innate lucidity. 


By maintaining the awareness referred to in the two preceding 
source verses, one naturally experiences a state of pure clarity in which 
there is no split between objects and mind. With one’s gaze and con- 
sciousness focused in the immediacy of apparent phenomena, in- 
wardly it is evident that these are naturally pristine and leave no trace. 
The Perfect Dynamic Energy of the Lion states: 

As lucid awareness regards the “object” — the nature 
of phenomena — 

this awareness, free of complication, is perceived inwardly. 

As self-knowing awareness regards the diversity of objects, 
nonconceptual and supreme dharmakaya is discovered inwardly. 

The Great Garuda discusses how such implications are discerned: 

The implications of the spontaneous vast expanse, supreme 
and unsought, 

can be discerned within the “interval” between apparent 
phenomena and emptiness, 
in which nothing need be said or done. 

And The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Since there is nothing to be done, do not act with effort. 

Since there is no frame of reference, there is freedom from any 
idea of meditation. 

Since there is no union and then separation, rest in the mind that 
does not forget. 

And The Six Expanses states: 

In the nature of mind, which has nothing to do with acceptance 
or rejection, 

the manifestation of natural freedom, without extremes, 

is revealed by me, Samantabhadra, 

to be supremely pervasive enlightened intent. 

The meaning of the preceding sections is reviewed: 

With the implications of three essential points being discerned 
within a single heart essence — 



220 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Oneness 


22 


that of evenness that is timeless whether or not there 
is realization, 

that of evenness in dharmakaya with no duality of objects 
and mind, 

and that of evenness within enlightened intent with neither 
error nor obscuration 16 — 

the ultimate and natural place is held without interruption. 

With nothing discarded or adopted, the definitive heart essence 
is discovered. 

With no coming or going, there is abiding in enlightened intent, 
the nature of phenomena. 

There is fulfillment on the level that is without transition 
or change. 

There is evenness, with no duality of objects and mind, when one 
rests imperturbably in relation to apparent phenomena, and so one 
discovers enlightened intent in which nothing is discarded or adopted. 
There is evenness whether or not thoughts occur, for mental stirring 
and proliferating thoughts arise as meditative absorption when one 
rests imperturbably in awareness, and so one discovers enlightened in- 
tent that neither comes nor goes. There is evenness without any error 
or obscuration whether or not the mind abides or stirs, and so one dis- 
covers uninterrupted enlightened intent. The implication, discerned 
by virtue of these three discoveries being inseparable, is that there is 
no straying from the naturally unsullied nature of phenomena, and so 
the six modes of consciousness are gently relaxed. The Great Garuda 
states: 

The implications of “warmth” — of relaxed, fresh, and 
genuine being — 

can be discerned within the “interval” between samsara and 
nirvana as one focuses on the natural state of being. 

And The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Ah! In supreme bliss, just as it is, effortless, 

do not make any effort with body, speech, or mind. 

Do not contrive reality or create constructs. 

Do not conceptualize. 

Do not be influenced by ordinary distinctions. 


Rest in the ultimate experience of bliss — naturally occurring 
timeless awareness. 

Do not adopt postures, suppress the senses, or restrict speech, 
for nothing need be undertaken. 

Mind will rest without wavering, wherever it goes. 

And The Six Expanses states: 

In the nature of mind, which does not entail dullness or agitation, 
meditation as supreme equanimity 
is revealed by me, Samantabhadra, 
to be enlightened intent as the relaxation of the six modes 
of consciousness. 

The preceding applies to immersing oneself in genuine being by re 
alizing the equalness of the three times. The same source states: 

For anyone who does not hold on to traces from the past or an- 
ticipate the future, but lets consciousness rest moment by moment 
in its own place, all consciousness blends as one, without any dis- 
tinction of earlier or later, in what I call “the single unifying es- 
sence.” This is to immerse oneself in genuine being knowing the 
equalness of the three times. Through this skillful means of allow- 
ing focused attention to resolve naturally, samsara and nirvana 
blend in nonduality. To bring an end to recollection of the past, 
curb anticipation of the future, and allow consideration of the 
present to fade naturally is what I call “immersing oneself in 
genuine being by knowing the equalness of the three times.” 

Moreover, if one does not fixate on previous states of mind, 
does not rely upon future states of mind, and does not pay atten- 
tion to present states of mind, one becomes immersed in genuine 
being by realizing the equalness of the three times. 

If one does not give the slightest credence to nonrecognition of 
awareness in the past, invite nonrecognition in the future, or asso- 
ciate intimately with nonrecognition in the present, one becomes 
immersed in genuine being by knowing the equalness of the three 
times. 

If one is not attached to past aversion, does not usher in future 
aversion, and does not hone present aversion, one is said to be 
immersed in genuine being by virtue of realizing the equalness of 
the three times.” 



222 The Way of Abiding 

If one does not gather the clouds of past ignorance, till the soil 
of future ignorance, or bring down the rain of present ignorance, 
one is said to be “immersed in genuine being by virtue of realizing 
the equalness of the three times.” 

One who does not acknowledge past pride, invest future pride 
with significance, or devote energy to present pride is said to be 
“immersed in genuine being, the equalness of the three times .” 17 
One who does not try to renounce past desire and attachment, 
is not resigned to future desire and attachment, and banishes all 
present desire and attachment is immersed in genuine being, the 
equalness of the three times. 

One who does not cling to past envy, focus on future envy, or 
dwell on present envy is immersed in genuine being by virtue of 
realizing the equalness of the three times. 

Then one is known as “someone great who is immersed in 
genuine being by virtue of realizing the nonduality of samsara 
and nirvana.” 

This advice also applies to positive concepts about buddhahood, 
as well as meditative experiences that result from the application of 
spiritual antidotes. Through such practice, the four factors of view, 
meditation, conduct, and fruition will occur spontaneously and all at 
once within a single awareness, empty yet lucid. The Spoken Words: 
The Secret Oral Lineage, by the master Shri Singha, states: 

Awakened mind is like empty space. 

The highest meditation has nothing to do with concepts 
or focused attention. 

One’s own nature is unwavering and uncontrived. 

The mind of a holy person abides thus in suchness. 

Buddhahood is unique, free of all representation. 

View is unique, free of the limits of elaboration. 

Meditation is unique, free of the limits of concepts 
or focused attention. 

Conduct is unique, free of the limits of effort or achievement. 

Fruition is unique, free of the limits of renunciation 
or attainment. 

In this context there arises meditative stability without there being 
union and then separation. As to the essence of this, The Perfect Dy- 
namic Energy of the Lion states: 


The Theme of Oneness 223 

Dharmakaya is nonconceptual and naturally pristine meditation. 

There is no objective frame of reference. 

If the meaning of this is realized, 

there is supreme meditative stability 

without there being union and then separation. 

This is revealed to be the naturally manifest fruition. 

And The Tantra of Heaped Jewels states: 

In natural and uninterrupted meditative stability, 
there is no dullness or agitation — how amazing! 

The meaning is summarized as being a single state of freedom: 

Spacious, supreme — the enlightened mind of victorious ones, 
equal to space. 

No renunciation or attainment — the expanse of a single sphere. 
Freedom in its own place — no question of whether or not there 
is realization. 

The point of resolution is reached — expansion into openness 
that transcends ordinary mind. 

From the pinnacle of the victory banner that never falls 
shine the sun and moon that illuminate the entire universe. 

With awakening to unobstructed awareness, naked in its timeless 
freedom, one reaches dharmakaya — enlightened intent in which phe- 
nomena are resolved. At the pinnacle of the unfailing victory banner 
of realization, the radiant sun and moon of naturally occurring time- 
less awareness shine within supreme emptiness, endowed with all po- 
tential, which constitutes the scope of awareness, thus “ dispelling the 
darkness that is the basis for confinement in samsara and nirvana.” At 
that point one is freed in primordial being. The Natural Freedom That 
Underlies Characteristics states: 

No differentiation or exclusion — freedom in the expanse 
of spontaneous presence. 

Neither made nor unmade — freedom in the expanse 
of the sphere of being. 

Anything can arise — freedom in the indeterminate expanse. 



The Theme of Oneness 


zz 5 


224 The Way of Abiding 


As for the way of freedom, The Reverberation of Sound states: 

Furthermore, I will explain 18 the nature of phenomena 
as freedom. 

Freedom is at the very core, so exertion falls away . 19 
Freedom is timeless, so there is no need to create it anew. 
Freedom is natural, so there is no antidote. 

Since there is freedom in the bare act of perception, things fade 20 
in the very moment of seeing them. 

Freedom is absolute, so there is natural purity. 

Freedom is beyond time, so gradual familiarization 
is unnecessary. 

Freedom is natural, so it is uncontrived. 

“Freedom” is just a conventional designation. 

To whom or what does realization or its lack apply? 

What in this case can be thought of as “freedom”? 

Under what circumstances could there be involvement 
in the three realms? 

Freedom from the limits of conditioned existence is the nature 
of phenomena. 

And The Pearl Garland states: 

Freedom is timeless, so it is forever exalted. 

Freedom is natural, so circumstances fall away. 

There is freedom in the immediacy of perception, so apparent 
phenomena are pure. 

With freedom from limits, the four alternatives cease. 

Freedom is oneness, so it is devoid of multiplicity . 21 
Since circumstances are freed by circumstances, 

I do not rely on constructs. 

Since objects are freed by objects, 

I do not rely on dualistic perception. 

Since causes themselves are freed by causes, 

I do not rely on either samsara or nirvana. 

Since phenomena are freed by phenomena, 

I do not rely on conventional designations. 

Since the nature of mind is freed by mind, 

I do not rely on mental representation and description. 

Just as impurities can be cleansed with impurities, 
likewise purity is freed by purity. 


When poisons are used to counteract poisons, 

iron to cut iron, 

stones to shatter stones, 

and wood to burn wood, 

they serve as their own undoing. 

Otherwise, there would be incompatibility, not freedom. 

The same source states how the total purity of this timeless free- 
dom is relevant: 

There is no freedom due to effort; 
rather, there is timeless abiding in freedom. 

With the uniting of skillful means and sublime knowing, 
the causal factors — one’s father and mother — are pure. 

The impetus due to the subtle energy of momentum 
is enlightened awareness, self-knowing and supremely blissful. 

With the five elements as their causal factors, 
the ovum and sperm are apparent phenomena arising within 
the domain of emptiness. 

The blissful union of a couple is sublime knowing that comes 
from skillful means. 

With entrance into the matrix of the womb, 
self-knowing awareness arises as apparent phenomena 
from the ground of being . 22 

The first seven weeks are the period in which realization 
develops; 

by ten months, the levels of realization are traversed. 

Birth is the arising of enlightened embodiment. 

The development of the body is the manifest domain 
of the ground of being. 

To abide in the body is the ground of being. 

Aging is the clearing away of confusion. 

Illness is the indwelling confidence of realization. 

With death there is freedom in the empty nature of phenomena. 

Thus, beings, manifest in physical form, are effortlessly 
and timelessly free. 

How marvelous! 

Not altered by conduct, things, in appearing, are free. 

Not sought in meditation, phenomena are free. 



22 6 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Oneness 


227 


With nothing to be posited 23 through view, there is freedom 
from affirmation and denial. 

Fruition is unconstrained, so the natural way is freedom. 

Embracing the Larger Scope 

Now, the larger scope is embraced. Everything is of one basic space, 
subsumed within naturally occurring timeless awareness: 

All phenomena are embraced within a single self-knowing 
awareness. 

Even though they arise as the totality of samsara and nirvana, 

the phenomena of the world of appearances and possibilities — 
limitless, boundless 24 — arise from basic space. 

Therefore, they are subsumed within the basic space from which 
they first arise. 

Given that all phenomena arise within the scope of awareness, in 
arising they are embraced from the outset within that single aware- 
ness. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Without causes or conditions, the quintessence 

has power over everything and is all-creating. 

Regardless of how things appear, they are embraced within awareness: 

Even as myriad things appear, they do not stray from the scope 
of awareness, 

so these apparent phenomena are embraced within the expanse 
of that naturally occurring awareness. 

However things appear moment by moment, they appear in light 
of awareness and so are subsumed in light of awareness. The All- 
Creating Monarch states: 

I am, in that I am awakened mind. 

I abide, in that I abide within basic space, the nature 
of phenomena. 

I am lucid, in that I am the lucidity within the space 
of awareness. 


In the final analysis, they are embraced within a single awareness: 

Although subsiding in basic space, with no distinction between 
their arising and being freed, 

they are nothing other than awakened mind, 

and so are embraced by the single primordial nature in which 
phenomena are resolved. 

All phenomena finally revert to and are freed within the scope of 
awareness, as in the metaphor of clouds dispersing in the sky. This 
resolution within the basic space of dharmakaya— the simultaneity of 
awareness and emptiness— is embraced as the supreme nature of phe- 
nomena. The Natural Freedom That Underlies Characteristics states: 

The confused mind that conceives of things as identical 
or separate 

is freed in oneness, freed within the expanse of the nature 
of phenomena. 

The hindrance to enlightenment — holding to the path 
of samsara — 

is freed in the naturally occurring state, freed within the expanse 
of timeless awareness. 

The meaning of this section is summarized by the fact that everything 
is embraced within naturally occurring timeless awareness: 

Therefore, all phenomena are embraced within a single 
awareness. 

The ultimate heart essence, without transition or change, 

is embraced within the very heart of enlightenment, 
unwavering awareness. 

It is fully encompassed as that which is unchanging 
and noncomposite. 

Since the entire world of appearances and possibilities, whether of 
samsara or nirvana, is encompassed within awareness — Samanta- 
bhadra, the nature of phenomena — phenomena are none other than 
that awareness, awakened mind. The Perfect Dynamic Energy of the 
Lion states: 



228 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Oneness 229 


The world of appearances and possibilities — samsara, nirvana, 
the five elements — 

is encompassed within the spacious expanse of Samantabhadra s 
bhaga. 

And The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Therefore, while the entire universe of appearances 
and possibilities 

is ineffable and does not abide in any fixed way within 
the context of space, 

given the enormity of the vast expanse of awakened mind, 
buddhas, ordinary beings, and the universe all abide therein. 

The same source continues: 3 

I, the all-creating monarch, have never proclaimed 
to previous buddhas who arose from me in the past 
that there are phenomena that are other than mind. 

The all-creating monarch has not prophesied any other 
enlightenment 

to those who are present now or who will appear in the future. 

Coming to the Decisive Experience 

Now, in coming to the decisive experience of everything as naturally 
occurring timeless awareness, one comes to a decisive experience of 
the ultimate heart essence without beginning or end: 

Within oneness , 25 the decisive experience is that of naturally 
occurring timeless awareness itself. 

Basic space is without beginning or end. 

Everything is complete therein; all elaborations completely 
subside . 26 

All phenomena abide in the ultimate heart essence, the nature 
of phenomena. 

Even while everything is manifesting, it is encompassed within 
naturally occurring timeless awareness without beginning or end, and 
so does not waver from the context of the ultimate heart essence, 
which is empty yet lucid. The All-Creating Monarch states. 


There is no wavering from within, no object to be sought within. 

Objects form externally, yet there is no elaboration of those 
objects. 

Compassion — not arising from or engaging such objects, 
and without identity — 

is not derived from anything else, nor will it ever be; 
rather, it abides timelessly. 

Within naturally occurring timeless awareness, one comes to a decisive 
experience that has nothing to do with objects of dualistic perception: 

In this way, outer objects and inner mind — the phenomena 
of samsara and nirvana — 

are free of fragmenting elaborations that distinguish coarse 
from subtle. 

One comes to this decisive experience within basic space, 
timelessly empty like the sky. 

Sense objects, which are reified as the outer world and its contents, 
are empty (for there are not even any subatomic particles to be di- 
vided), yet manifest naturally within the scope of awareness. As well, 
inner mind is empty (for there are not even any moments of con- 
sciousness to be divided) and vanishes in awareness, fading naturally 
and leaving no trace. Both are timelessly empty, free of origin, and 
pure like the sky. The Victory Banner That Never Falls: Supreme Space 
states: 

Outwardly and inwardly, or even on the outward level alone, 
there is no object to be conceptualized on even the most minute 
or profound level. 

Conditioned existence is just a term — the power of error. 

One comes to a decisive experience of awareness, beyond character- 
ization or description: 

Even awakened mind, if analyzed, has no substance. 

It is without origination or duration, does not come or go, 
cannot be characterized, and is beyond expression. 

Since one comes to this decisive experience within the expanse 
of enlightened intent that surpasses ordinary mind. 


230 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Oneness 


231 


there is no substance 27 with characteristics that can be defined 
as some “thing.” 

There is nothing to be known through language or expressed 
in words. 

Regardless of what occurs or arises out of awareness (that is, natu- 
rally occurring timeless awareness) — be it the world of appearances 
and possibilities (whether of samsara or nirvana), dualistic percep- 
tions, or a spiritual approach — everything is perfect, encompassed 
within that awareness, awakened mind, and so is encompassed within 
great perfection. Although the nature of phenomena — awakened 
mind — is all-pervasive such that everything abides within its scope, in 
its essence it abides tunelessly like space, beyond the reach of any ima- 
gined or descriptive elaborations. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Ah, listen, great and courageous one! 

This is my nature: I exist, in that I am nothing but oneness. 

I am revealed, in that I reveal myself in two ways. 

I occur, in that I occur as the nine spiritual approaches. 

I am encompassed, in that I am encompassed within 
great perfection. 

I am, in that I am awakened mind. 

I abide, in that I abide within basic space, the nature of 
phenomena. 

I am lucid, in that I am lucidity within the space 
of awareness. 

I am pervasive, in that I pervade the entire universe. 

I occur, in that I occur throughout the world of all appearances 
and possibilities. 

I am revealed, yet am not some substance with characteristics. 

In being seen, I am nonetheless free of any objective frame 
of reference. 

In being known, I nevertheless cannot be expressed in words. 

This heart essence, which does not result from causes, 
is free of all exaggeration. 

If you wish to realize its ultimate meaning with certainty, 
the metaphor compares it to space, 

the underlying meaning is the unborn nature of phenomena, 
and the evidence is the unceasing nature of mind. 

Since the nature of phenomena is like space, 


it is illustrated by the metaphor that likens it to space. 

Since the nature of phenomena has no frame of reference, 

I have characterized and revealed it to be nonreferential. 

Since it cannot be expressed in words, 

I use the word “inexpressible” to describe it. 

This is revealed to be the ultimate nonreferential essence. 

To summarize, the meaning that has been revealed relates 
to the ultimate essence. 

This will bring realization of me, the ultimate meaning. 

If through this you do not realize me, the ultimate meaning, 
no matter what terms are used for this meaning, you will not 
encounter me. 

You will stray from me and I will be hidden, 

so you will not perceive what is at the very heart of phenomena. 

In summary, one comes to a decisive experience of the resolution of 
phenomena as a supreme and unnameable state: 

Within the vast expanse — unnameable and free of elaboration — 
one comes to a decisive experience of the phenomena 
of the world of appearances and possibilities, whether of samsara 
or nirvana. 

Within the vast expanse — the unborn simultaneity of awareness 
and emptiness — 

one comes to a decisive experience concerning the phenomena 
of one’s own self-knowing awareness. 

Within the vast expanse— which has nothing to do with the 
recognition or nonrecognition of awareness — 
one comes to a decisive experience concerning the phenomena 
of awakened mind. 

Within the vast expanse— with no transition or change 
throughout the three times — 
one comes to a decisive experience concerning timelessly 
and totally empty phenomena. 

All possible phenomena of samsara and nirvana arise within the 
scope of awareness, timelessly free of elaboration, and it is ultimately 
within that awareness that one comes to a decisive experience of these 
phenomena. As The Reverberation of Sound 28 explains: 

The level of freedom itself is the original state. 



232 The Way of Abiding 


The Theme of Oneness 233 


One comes to a decisive experience of all phenomena arising from 
awareness within the unborn simultaneity of that awareness and emp- 
tiness. The Great Victory Banner That Never Falls states: 

This amazing, marvelous display 

abides like space, without anything needing to be done. 

One comes to a decisive experience of all phenomena of awakened 
mind as nondual. The same source states: 

Incomparable timeless awareness accounts for spontaneously 
present supreme bliss. 

Having nothing to do with either the recognition or 
nonrecognition of awareness, 

this bliss is experienced through its own power and so does not 
come from anything else. 

One comes to a decisive experience of all empty phenomena being 
without transition or change. The same source also states: 

There is no change, only ongoing abiding. 

This is like space — limitations are evened out — 
and it is not something that relies on anything else. 

Thus, in naturally occurring timeless awareness — the simultaneity 
of awareness and emptiness — enlightened form, speech, and mind 
abide in the supreme spontaneous presence, empty yet lucid, that is 
the uncreated nature of phenomena, originally pure by its very nature. 
The Tantra of Adornment Through Direct Introduction states: 

Due to the nature of the vajra — enlightened form — 
there is abiding in the realm that is unchanging 
and indestructible. 

Due to the nature of the lotus — enlightened speech — 
there is abiding in the quintessence that is unceasing, 
forever unceasing. 

Due to the nature of the wheel — enlightened mind — 

there is abiding in supreme, nonconceptual meditative stability. 

And The Tantra of the Supreme Secret: The Enlightened Mind of All 
Tathagatas states: 


The three kayas — utterly lucid emptiness — 
are not permanent, for they have no substance. 

They cannot be denied, for they embody utter lucidity. 

They are not separate, not divisible into outer or inner. 

The spacious kayas of unobstructed emptiness 

are the inseparability of appearance and emptiness — intangible. 

Enlightened form is without origination, transition, or change. 

Enlightened speech is unborn ultimate speech, 

unspoken in words yet clear in meaning, 

beyond any words that could describe or express it. 

Enlightened mind is awareness, pure like space. 

There is no 4 T’-consciousness, no basis of ordinary experience, 
no sensory consciousness. 

There is no sensation and so no feeling, 
no perception and so no reification of self, 
no mental states and so no origination or duration, 
no consciousness and so no confusion, 
no objects of the five senses and so no reification, 
no desire and so no attachment, 
no benefit or harm and so no karmic ripening, 
no belief in identity and so no reification of self. 

Timeless awareness is evident when there is no confusion 
involving the five senses. 

The nature of everything is evenness, buddhahood. 

There is no distortion in enlightened form, speech, or mind, 
nothing to be seen with view, nothing to cultivate in meditation, 
no involvement in conduct, 
no levels or paths to be traversed. 

And The All-IUuminating Sphere states: 

Lucid yet nonconceptual timeless awareness is dharmakaya. 

It manifests naturally in and of itself — the universe as timeless 
buddhahood. 

The two poles of ordinary reaction and enlightened 
responsiveness are totally pure. 

The levels of realization and the process of complete liberation 
already partake of sublime enlightenment, 
so there is nothing to be traversed. 

The nature of phenomena is sublime enlightenment. 


234 The Way of Abiding 


If one believes in progress, one is far from timeless awareness. 
Without being gathered, the two accumulations are nonetheless 
tunelessly perfected. 

Without being refined, the two obscurations are nonetheless 
tunelessly refined. 


Everything is of one basic space— the scope of naturally occurring 
timeless awareness. 

All phenomena without exception are of one taste in total purity, 
and so nonduality, as the meaning of the definitive conclusion 
concerning oneness, 

has been explained in this precious commentary that analyzes 
the fourth topic. 

Victorious ones abiding in the ten directions and three times, 
dakas and dakinis, masters of accomplishment, masters 
of awareness, and guardian deities, 
as well as all beings, without exception, who have the good 
fortune to receive this sublime teaching — 
rejoice in this profound and vast approach! 

From The Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding , this is the com- 
mentary on the fourth vajra topic, reaching the definitive conclusion 
concerning the oneness of all phenomena within awareness timeless 
awareness — as their source. 


5 


The Individuals to Whom These 
Teachings May Be Entrusted 


Now, there follows my advice concerning individuals who are to up- 
hold these teachings. This is considered under five topics: who is being 
instructed, who instructs, what is being imparted, how it is imparted, 
and extolling the benefits and advantages of the instruction. 

The Candidates for Instruction 

First, to describe the candidates for instruction, there are two catego- 
ries, those to be rejected and those to be accepted. To begin with, a 
general discussion of the candidates to be rejected: 

Thus, this quintessential nectar of the most profound spiritual 
approach 

should be revealed only to individuals who are definitely 
of the highest intelligence and good fortune, 

not to those who follow lesser spiritual approaches, those biased 
toward causality, 

or those whose intelligence and good fortune are limited. 

Even if something profound were revealed to those who are less 
fortunate, they would not realize it. Those of limited intelligence 
would reject this teaching, because their minds could not accommo- 
date it. Those who follow lesser spiritual approaches are biased to- 
ward their own philosophies, and so would entertain erroneous 
views. Those who are biased toward teachings about cause and effect 


235 



i3 6 The Way of Abiding 


The Individuals to Be Entrusted 237 


weigh everything solely in terms of karmic causality, so that even if 
this teaching, which is like space, were revealed to them, they would 
dispute it and see it as something to be exaggerated or denigrated. 
This demonstrates that, since none of these are suitable candidates, it 
is necessary to keep this unsurpassable teaching secret from them. The 
All-Creating Monarch states: 

O great and courageous one, if I were to reveal 
this ultimate meaning to those who follow spiritual approaches 
based upon causes and results, 
in accordance with such teachings on the mundane process 
of causality 

they would hear me say, "It is not logical for results to come 
from causes.” 

The same source continues: 

I, the all-creating one, do not reveal this transmission 
to those who follow spiritual approaches based on causes 
and results. 

If I were to reveal this transmission definitively, 
they would claim, "Causality applies to positive and 
negative actions,” 

exaggerating or denigrating me, the truth, 
and so they would not encounter for a long time the truth 
that I am. 

And The Heaped Jewels makes such statements as the following, cited 
previously: 

“Do not utter even a word of this among shravakas, pratyeka- 
buddhas, and others! Why is this, you ask? Because they have 
small minds. Upon hearing these words, they will become fright- 
ened, terrified, and will faint. They will have no interest in the se- 
cret mantra approach and so they will repudiate it, and as the in- 
evitable karmic consequence of this they will experience rebirth 
as beings in a vast hell realm. Therefore, you should not even 
speak upwind of them, to say nothing of teaching them and their 
listening.” 


The candidates who are specifically to be rejected are as follows: 

Those who revile the guru, feel anger toward their spiritual 
siblings, 

violate the bounds of what is secret and proclaim it publicly, 

have no faith, are avaricious, are of ignoble character, 

and fixate on things of this life — keep what is secret from them. 

People who have developed certain faults are unsuitable candi- 
dates. Such faults include having no respect for their guru or spiritual 
brothers and sisters, and viewing them wrongly; proclaiming secrets 
and teaching them publicly; having no faith and being very avari- 
cious; and being of ignoble character and investing the confused per- 
ceptions of this life with true existence. One should not teach them, 
because they will become enemies of their spiritual masters and of the 
teachings concerning the heart essence. Naturally Arising Awareness 
states: 

Showing no honor or esteem, 

behaving in ways that violate the secret mantra approach, 
having no spiritual affinity and no character, 
lacking sublime knowledge, 
disregarding the kindness of others, 
bragging about their family background, 
adorning their bodies ostentatiously, 
and acting in meaningless and undirected ways — 
they are not to be considered students, but rather the spiritual 
master’s enemies. 

Do not explain the ultimate meaning of the Great Perfection 
to individuals who will not put it into practice. 

And The All-Creating Monarch states: 

The wrong kinds of individuals — unsuitable candidates — 
take delight in fame and worldly matters, 
are proud, and so have no respect for what is sacred, 
become discouraged and give up, 
act unethically, do not rely on supports, and have no faith, 
are selfish and argumentative, covet dramatic methods 
of practice. 



238 The Way of Abiding 


The Individuals to Be Entrusted 239 


disseminate the teachings publicly, are disharmonious, 
and cultivate ill will by promoting themselves and denigrating 
others. 

One should not teach them, but rather be extremely secretive. 

The candidates who are to be accepted are as follows: 

Fortunate people of the very highest caliber are candidates 
for the Great Perfection. 

Teach it to them, for they respect the guru, have sublime 
knowledge in abundance, 

are spacious and forbearing, have a great capacity for generosity, 
have little attraction to dualistic thinking , 1 
have given up concerns with this life, strive to attain 
enlightenment, 

have faith and diligence, and can maintain secrecy. 

People with certain qualities are suitable candidates. Such qualities 
include having faith in their guru, the teachings, and their spiritual 
brothers and sisters; strong devotion and a great capacity for generos- 
ity; sublime knowledge on a vast scale; a spacious disposition; purity 
of character; few fixations; few notions about gaining freedom 
through purity or clinging to ritual purification; great diligence; and 
the ability to maintain secrecy. One should teach them. Naturally 
Arising Awareness states: 

Having strong faith, great diligence, and sublime knowing 
in abundance, 

without clinging and attachment, 

showing great respect, 

engaging in the conduct of secret mantra, 

without discursiveness or distraction of mind, 

upholding samaya and being diligent in spiritual practice, 

embodying constant and deeply felt affection, 

engaging in lucid and stable meditation, 

acting in accord with the words of the teacher, 

not lapsing into breaches of samaya, 

behaving in harmony with others, 

purifying the mind through devotion, 

taking each word taught to heart and thus acting in their own 
best spiritual interests, 


worthy of being entrusted with secrets, 
never transgressing the ultimate meaning of vajra nature, 
relying upon individuals of great learning, 
never going against their own best spiritual interests, 
speaking gently without arrogant words, 
acting in harmony with the minds of others, 
considering the teacher and the Tathagata to be one, 
without distinction — 
these are the characteristics of students. 

Such students are said to be candidates for the Great Perfection. 

And The All-Creating Monarch states: 

With faith, samaya, great diligence, compassion, and joy, 
without discouragement or idle speculation, 
without any attachment whatsoever to their physical bodies, 
children, spouses, servants, or possessions, 
but rather offering these faithfully and joyfully — 
these are the signs of faith and samaya of those 
upon whom I bestow that which conveys the quintessential 
meaning. 

Students should behave as follows: 

For their part, they please the guru with gifts 2 
and, having already committed themselves, make 
a wholehearted request. 

Once this has been granted, they will practice appropriately 
and reach resolution on the level of the way of abiding. 

Before requesting this heart essence, students who are suitable can- 
didates first please the guru in many ways and then make their re- 
quest, having committed themselves to the pursuit of spiritual prac- 
tice. Once the guru has granted their request, they give up concerns 
. with this life and carry out spiritual practice appropriately, using this 
present life to come to a decisive experience of samsara and nirvana. 
They will reach resolution — the way of abiding. As The All-Creating 
Monarch states: 

“If I somehow obtain these teachings concerning the 
heart essence, 



Z4° 


The Way of Abiding 


The Individuals to Be Entrusted 2.41 


what will things of the world matter to me? 

And if I obtain them, I will undertake any difficulty!” 

Grant teachings to those who thoroughly uphold 
this commitment. 

The usual process by which this comes about is for students (who 
themselves do not yet have realization) to honor a guru. Desiring only 
spiritual teachings, they constantly reflect on the positive qualities of 
the guru and the teachings. The guru, moreover, continually cares for 
students with compassion and advises them in a timely manner, nur- 
turing them as though raising children. With unflagging resolve, a 
teacher and a student regard one another with constant affection. The 
Reverberation of Sound states: 

To the vajra master who confers pith instructions, 
one should offer one’s uncles, one’s father and mother, 
one’s eyes, one’s jewels, one’s children, and the very best 
of one’s possessions — 
whatever is cherished and valued. 

And Naturally Arising Awareness states: 

Thus, the vajra master who confers pith instructions 
should be served with one’s own body, precious things, 
and whatever is extremely rare. 

And The All-Creating Monarch states: 

In brief, one should offer even one s body and life force, 
to say nothing of possessions, property, and noble mounts. 

Even if they do not need these themselves, 

holy ones will accept them and offer them to the Three Jewels. 

And Naturally Arising Awareness states: 

The bond of innate compassion is not cut, 

nor is the bond of ongoing affection interrupted — 

this is the connection between spiritual master and student. 


The Guru Who Instructs 

The qualifications of a guru who imparts these instructions are as 
follows: 

Morever, the guru, who has heard many teachings and perfected 
positive qualities, . . . 

In general, spiritual masters of the vajra pinnacle of secret mantra 
have heard many teachings, have great compassion, have received a 
complete transmission of empowerment and samaya, and have rip- 
ened themselves within the ordinary disciplines of development and 
completion, and so have the ability to free others. 

In particular, gurus of the Great Perfection have, in addition, re- 
ceived empowerment into the definitive supreme secret, uphold pure 
samaya, and are learned in the meaning found in the tantras, explana- 
tory commentaries, and pith instructions. They themselves have at- 
tained resolution in the spacelike total purity of view and meditation, 
and so have the ability to bring others to complete happiness. 

In brief, they possess a treasure of positive qualities that never fal- 
ter, like the emblem adorning a victory banner. Naturally Arising 
Awareness states: 

Masters who have realized the vajra meaning 
are of noble character, are skilled in teaching, 
have received empowerment, are deeply involved in the ultimate 
meaning of the secret mantra approach, 
know all outer and inner ritual activities, 

are in union with the chosen deity (beyond uniting with and then 
separating from it), 

are not distracted from meditative absorption, 
are learned in the esoteric tantras of the secret mantra approach 
that hold the meaning of the pith instructions of the 
Great Perfection, 

carry out all outer and inner methods of spiritual 
accomplishment, 

do not waver from the meaning of view, 

and give up ordinary activities on outer, inner, and secret levels. 

With positive qualities that are like precious gems, 
they enjoy this inexhaustible treasure. 



242 The Way of Abiding 


The Individuals to Be Entrusted 243 


And The Reverberation of Sound states: 

A guru who is completely qualified 
is the source of all positive qualities 
and provides the basis for perfect enlightenment. 

The kind of guru who, by implication, is to be avoided is described 
in Naturally Arising Awareness: 

Those who lack understanding, are very proud, 
are foolish and caught up in verbiage, 
are not intent upon the ultimate meaning of the 
secret mantra approach, 

disappoint others, speak arrogantly, follow erroneous paths, 
have never beheld the mandalas of empowerment, 
violate samaya, fail to respond to those who ask questions, 
have heard few teachings, and have great pride — 
these are not considered to be masters, but rather to have 
a negative influence on students. 

They are not masters who reveal the secret mantra approach, 
nor are they capable of teaching ati, the Great Perfection. 

Do not associate with them. 

Thus, you should avoid them. 

Instruction is imparted in the following way: 

. . . examines all candidates , 3 bestows the key points gradually 
while keeping them very secret from those who are not 
suitable candidates, 

applies the seal of command, and strictly conceals these points 
with the seal of trust. 

The guru examines the student’s suitability as a candidate and, as 
the student pursues spiritual practice over a period of months or 
years, grants the key points of the teachings gradually. To do so all at 
once would be a mistake because, if frivolous people who are not suit- 
able candidates received them all at once, the teachings would be con- 
founded and the blessings would fade. Even in the case of people who 
are suitable candidates, their practice would not ripen and their minds 


would become jaded about the teachings. In his Examination of the 
Key Points of Timeliness , the master Padmasambhava states: 

Not all at once, moreover, but gradually, 

candidates are examined and instructions are given 
in a thorough manner, 

though these are kept hidden from those who are fixated 
on this life. 

If people are suitable candidates, they are devoted to the teachings 
and so request them with offerings and due honors. Although spiri- 
tual masters have no desire for material things, they know others by 
their actions. There is only one way to create auspicious interdepen- 
dence; someone who is not a suitable candidate is not keenly motivated, 
but makes formal gestures only out of ambition. The All-Creating 
Monarch states: 

Having been examined previously, devoted candidates make 
their request 

with fine and precious things, so that their faith can be 
determined. 

The all-creating monarch is not to be revealed 

to those with avaricious minds, pride, or inconsistent altruism. 

Therefore, suitable candidates are taught, while secrecy is main- 
tained toward those who are not suitable, as Naturally Arising Aware- 
ness states: 

The ultimate meaning of the Great Perfection approach 
of pith instructions 

is not to be poured into common and inferior vessels. 

If the quintessence intended for the few with faith is poured 
into inferior vessels, 

no quintessence will result, only ruination for all. 

Therefore, keep this secret from those with inferior minds. 

As for the way in which secrecy is kept, my advice is not to con- 
sider teaching this profound approach to those with inferior minds. 
Do not speak a word of it aloud to them. Do not put these texts into 
their hands. Enjoin on those who are suitable candidates the seal of 



244 The Way of Abiding 


The Individuals to Be Entrusted 245 


secrecy concerning those who are unsuitable. With the seal of trust 
concerning these teachings, instruct suitable candidates to keep them 
strictly concealed. 

The Instructions Imparted 

The heart essence of what is imparted is shown as follows: 

Teachings on the heart essence of definitive meaning are entrusted 
to fortunate heart children of the very highest caliber. 

There are two considerations here, the actual teachings and those 
to whom they are entrusted. The first is the manner in which aware- 
ness — awakened mind — is shown to be beyond causality and deliber- 
ate effort. This involves two steps, reaching the definitive conclusion 
through view and continuing within this context through enlightened 
intent. 

To begin with, regardless of what appears in light of awareness, it 
does not waver from that awareness and is neither beneficial nor 
harmful. Transcending causes and effects, whether positive or nega- 
tive, this constitutes a supreme and unobstructed state of unique per- 
fection. The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Nonconceptual space is dharmakaya. 

I am nonconceptual, neither accepting nor rejecting. 

The absence of acceptance and rejection is like space. 

Just as space does not accept or reject, 

Samantabhadra does not accept or reject. 

Acceptance and rejection are absent in me. 

The same source states that the essence has nothing to do with causality: 

Enlightenment is of the nature of space — 

space has nothing to do with causality. 

And The Perfect Dynamic Energy of the Lion states: 

The ultimate meaning of buddhahood is not realized through 
positive actions, 

for if the meaning of buddhahood were realized through 
such actions, 


the great perfection, the way of abiding, would be false. 

Falling into samsara does not happen as a result of 
negative actions, 

for if falling into samsara happened as a result of such actions, 
naturally occurring timeless awareness would be false. 

To resolve the quandary this poses: In lower spiritual approaches, 
it is taught that positive and negative actions do exist. Because one 
fails to realize the ultimate and genuine nature of these actions and 
fixates on them as though they really existed, they appear, out of con- 
fusion, to be positive or negative. But in fundamentally unconditioned 
awakened mind, there is no virtue or harm. Likewise, regardless of 
what confused perceptions arise for someone stricken with a virulent 
fever, in actuality they do not exist. 

The metaphor of a phenomenon that comes into being and ceases 
does not apply to what is unborn; for example, the metaphor of a 
seedling that grows from a seed does not apply to space. Likewise, one 
should understand that the metaphors for confused experiences based 
on causality do not apply to the ultimate essence, the nature of mind. 
The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Because the great perfection is timelessly beyond causality, 
the state in which nothing need be done is not accomplished 
by being sought or achieved. 

Teachers who view things in terms of causality issue 
pronouncements. 

They take mundane phenomena with ordinary characteristics 
as their standard 

and rely on causality in trying to accomplish results. 

There are no causes, only mind, and so there are never 
any results. 

Because awakened mind is unborn, 

do not take the phenomena experienced by worldly people 
as its metaphor 

and misinterpret it as something that comes into being 
and then decays. 

Without realizing that it occurs naturally, beyond causality, 
they take mundane phenomena with ordinary characteristics 
as their standard 

and rely upon causes, claiming that results occur from them. 



246 The Way of Abiding 


The Individuals to Be Entrusted 247 


Such is the natural transmission of spiritual approaches based 
on causes and results. 

Listen, O great and courageous being! 

Timeless awareness — what is termed “timeless awareness” — 
is naturally occurring timeless awareness, unceasing and 
in harmony with everything. 

Not dependent on causes, this incomparable timeless awareness 
gives rise to everything, and there is no other source 
of phenomena. 

To take mundane phenomena, whether causes or effects, 
as the standard — 

such seeking will not bring about what has never existed 
as a result. 

Because awakened mind is not created by causes, 
do not take mundane phenomena, which come into being 
and cease, as the standard. 

Because awakened mind is not created by conditions, 
do not take mundane phenomena, which come into being 
and cease, as its metaphors. 

O great and courageous one, 

if one strives in meditation and other spiritual practice, 
desiring something great, 

this greatness will not be achieved through such effort. 

Such greatness is and has always been naturally occurring 
timeless awareness. 

There is no need to try to achieve buddhahood according to ordi- 
nary approaches based on causes and results. All approaches accept 
that the fruition is dharmakaya — noncomposite, never brought about 
by achievement. If it could be brought about by achievement, it would 
therefore be composite and, in turn, impermanent. Rather, it comes 
about through resting without contrivance, just so: the enlightened in- 
tents of all buddhas of the three times are in accord on this point. 
From the same source: 

Buddhahood is not brought about by achievement. 

It need not be sought and is naturally indwelling, 
and so spontaneously present. 

Rest nonconceptually in this unsought and naturally 
indwelling state. 


The same source continues: 

All buddhas of the three times, moreover, are none other than 
awakened mind. 

Buddhas of previous generations gained realization in the past 
by seeing the uncontrived natural mind. 

Buddhas now present have gained realization of this uncontrived 
natural mind, 

without contrivance, just as it is, 

and so are now bringing benefit to ordinary beings. 

For buddhas who have yet to appear, 
this naturally occurring state, the nature of mind, 
has not been proclaimed to be contrived, 
nor is this precious mind contrived at present. 

They will appear having followed the path of noncontrivance. 

Regardless of how phenomena manifest, 
they are not realized to be awakened mind. 

They are not brought about by contrivance or achievement, 
but in the absence of realization, attempts are made to bring 
something about by contrivance. 

Although many eons pass, one will not encounter effortless bliss. 

Ah! Because the three kayas are not contrived by ordinary mind, 
even though reference to deliberate contrivance is found 
in the sutra scriptures of the Teacher who demonstrates 
the three kayas, 

in these cases the Teacher was not revealing the nature 
of the three kayas. 

Likewise, in whatever ways the Teacher taught deliberate 
contrivance to be true, 

these are not definitive quotations, but rather provisional ones. 

As for continuing within this context through enlightened intent, 
awareness — naked dharmakaya, the unique state beyond causes and 
effects (whether positive or negative), the ultimate meaning of the 
resolution of phenomena that is beyond ordinary consciousness — 
thus rests imperturbably in its own place, without thought, without 
reflection. When this occurs, it is vivid in its natural lucidity, all- 
encompassing in its empty lucidity, and uniform in its timeless lucid- 
ity. Uncontrived and undistorted within that context, it is a state of 



248 The Way of Abiding 

equilibrium in utter relaxation, brilliance that is naturally pristine, 
ease in natural freedom, vividness in natural purity, relaxation in the 
natural place of rest, and wide-open clarity in the unfettered and natu- 
ral expansiveness of the five senses. 

Within the spacious expanse of openness, the continuity of ordi- 
nary consciousness through the three times is cut through, and so one 
rests in a state of equilibrium within naked lucidity, which is unceas- 
ing and nonconceptual. Samantabhadra : Mirror of Enlightened Mind 
states: 

Lucid and undistracted, difficult to fathom — 
expanding 4 into this state, empty yet lucid, one enjoys 
the basic space of supreme bliss. 

This lucid state of one-pointedness 5 is the realm of ultimate 
basic space. 

The Pearl Garland states: 

Empty yet lucid, lucid and pervasive, 
uncorrupted by ordinary thought, unencumbered 
by recollection, 
free of elaboration, 
pervasive and empty like space, 
naturally pure, free of all designations, . . . 

The Six Expanses states: 

Self-knowing awareness is accompanied by an equal measure 
of emptiness. 

Owing to the great fortune of being familiar with this, 
one attains the enlightened dimension of nonconceptuality. 

Attaining the radiance of my responsiveness, 
one shares equal fortune with me. 

The Blazing Lamp states: 

Without naturally manifest appearances ceasing, 
all attention that reifies things 6 comes to an end. 

Within the basic space of naturally pure appearances, 
there is discernment of unwavering evenness in 
nonconceptual awareness. 


The Individuals to Be Entrusted 249 

Within the basic space of the equalness of everything, moreover; 

with this timeless resolution of discursive thought 

there is abiding in basic space that is totally pure by nature. 

Without dualistically labeling and characterizing apparent 
phenomena, 

there is abiding in the context of supreme natural relaxation 
within basic space that cannot be divided into outer and inner. 

With an infinite scope that cannot be so divided, 

there is timeless abiding, unobscured and without distortion, 

as the quality of totally pure basic space 

in supreme and timeless original purity. 

The Conjunction of the Sun and Moon states: 

In realizing natural great perfection, 
whoever is thus familiar with it discovers its implications 
by resting, not seeking. 

Supreme bliss unfolds without being cultivated in meditation. 

There is direct awareness in the nature itself. 

Those who encounter this, even if they have committed harmful 
acts with immediate consequences, 
will be freed by cultivating it in meditation. 

Of this there is no doubt — I swear it! 

The Perfect Dynamic Energy of the Lion states: 

The nature of phenomena, which entails no reification 
or attachment, has no substance. 

It is the sublime, nondualistic enlightened intent of buddhas. 

The nature of phenomena, which entails no deliberate effort, 
is pure in its own place. 

All-encompassing meditative absorption enters the domain 
of the nature of phenomena. 

And The Array of Inset Gems states: 

In its timeless original purity — the quality of space — 
dharmakaya itself has no substance and entails no deliberation. 

In supreme spaciousness that cannot be divided into outer 
and inner. 



250 The Way of Abiding 


The Individuals to Be Entrusted 


251 


the spacious nature of phenomena is free of limits and has 
no substance. 

These quotations are concerned with the very essence, which is 
naturally lucid, evoked without mental laxity or agitation. An open 
spaciousness unaffected by any antidote, it is pure, without division 
between outer and inner, and so is free of any flaws of error, obscura- 
tion, or extreme. The Reverberation of Sound states: 

In meditation that constitutes uncultivated abiding, 
the avenues of the senses are lucid, though conceptual mind 
does not engage in thought. 

Mind that reflects on awareness itself is such that it is not lost 
to outer phenomena. 

There is no fragmentation, or isolation in emptiness, 

or interruption of the continuity of bliss, 

or impartiality that becomes apathy, 

or contrived relaxation in the lucidity of consciousness, 

or empty paths of training that are repudiated or interrupted, 

or fixation on the arousal of inner bliss, 

or reification of lucid manifestations, 

or manipulation of visualized colors and syllables . 7 

If one does not fall into such extremes, 

meditation constitutes abiding without going astray. 

Concerning the way in which the quality of meditation manifests, 
this quality is awareness that is empty yet lucid, 
unadulterated by its very nature. 

The limitations of dualistic perception are resolved, 
and the very essence of the nature of phenomena is pure. 

Given the unconfused way in which this manifests, 
since what is tangible and intangible is naturally pure 
in the pure nature of causes and conditions, 
fixation on the objects of the five senses is innately pure, 
the coarse elements are innately pure, 
and the increasing vision of pure timeless awareness 
reveals itself. 

Therein lies the nature of phenomena as resolution. 

In this regard, with the shift to an empty and naturally pristine 
state, first the process of misconstruing the subtle and coarse elements 
as having identity is purified. Then, the meditative experience of 


empty yet lucid timeless awareness intensifies, until finally the atoms 
of the subtle and coarse elements disperse and physical matter is puri- 
fied like mist fading, whereupon awareness reaches the point of reso- 
lution in originally pure dharmakaya and is said to have “taken its 
own place.” The Heaped Jewels states: 

When there is resting in the natural state without concentration, 
understanding manifests in each individual’s mind, 
without all the words concerning mind having to be taught 
by anyone. 

As one’s mind becomes familiar with this, 

all that is nonmanifest and all apparent phenomena, 

which themselves entail no concepts, are naturally pure. 

Thus everything, in an unobstructed way, 
becomes a variation of the supreme simultaneity of emptiness 
and lucidity. 

Each of the four elements — earth, water; fire, and air — dissipates 
into space like mist 

without its respective potential actually taking form. 

Regardless of the complexity with which fixation based 
on confusion is experienced, 
aspects of dualistic perception, in that they are unborn, 
naturally cease, so that nothing manifests. 

With this natural resolution, one’s own illuminating experience 
is similar for all other beings. 

And The Reverberation of Sound states: 

The scope of natural great perfection — 
phenomena resting in their natural condition . 8 
Since the nature of apparent phenomena and knowing 
is one of primordial union, 
they meet in timeless freedom — imperturbable rest. 

Enlightened intent is beyond ordinary consciousness. 

Everything with characteristics is pure in its natural state. 

There is freedom from the limitations of emptiness 
and substance. 

Mental stirring falls away — nonconceptuality. 

Ordinary consciousness falls away — the transcendence 
of conceptual mind. 


252 The Way of Abiding 


The Individuals to Be Entrusted 


There are two approaches: when the meaning of original purity is 
brought to its ultimate conclusion — in the approach known as “cut- 
ting through solidity” — the elements fall away; when spontaneous 
presence is brought to its ultimate conclusion — in the approach 
known as “making the quantum leap” — the elements are purified. 

These two are alike only in that external and internal matter is pu- 
rified. But there is the distinction of whether or not the so-called body 
of light is attained. In the approach of cutting through solidity, the 
smallest of the body’s particles disperse, and freedom instantly comes 
about in original purity, so that the body of light does not manifest. In 
the approach of making the quantum leap, the body of light is, quite 
simply, the factor that brings about the accomplishment of “supreme 
transference.” There is no distinction, however, regarding the way in 
which freedom comes about on the level of original purity. 

Through such a majestic spiritual approach, one is capable of over- 
whelming everything with the splendor of one’s realization and com- 
ing to a decisive experience of causality in this life. In realizing the ma- 
trix that is the nature of phenomena without its being impaired, one 
immersed in genuine being gains an authentic degree of indwelling 
confidence and so conquers the confusion of causality. Lesser spiritual 
approaches are not relied upon, and theories of causality are not pos- 
ited. This is because the outermost confines of one’s view have been 
thoroughly shattered and everything is understood to be naturally oc- 
curring timeless awareness. 

The eight lower spiritual approaches are unable to make such 
claims, because they amount only to lesser approaches. The Tantra of 
the Great and Perfect Dynamic Energy of the Lion states: 

How marvelous! 

Timeless awareness as manifest appearance is supremely lucid. 

Timeless awareness as interdependence is free of bias. 

The secret timeless awareness of great perfection is, it turns out, 
the pinnacle of everything. 

To illustrate the view of great perfection with a metaphor, 

it is similar to a great garuda soaring in space. 

Despite the multiplicity of terms specific to individual spiritual 
approaches, 

the lion does not bark like the fox, for his belly is vast; 


253 

the fox and monkey cannot roar like the lion, for their throats 
are narrow. 

The language specific to the Great Perfection reveals 
self-knowing timeless awareness. 

As for addressing self-knowing awareness, the lower approaches 
are forever inferior in their view. 

In this regard, one might think that just as a garuda first takes 
flight from the top of a cliff, so we must attain higher levels by relying 
on lower ones, after which we can proceed without deliberate effort, 
as though soaring in space. But this is not so. Although we can allow 
that it is possible for some who refine their acumen, here we are using 
as a metaphor the garuda’s soaring in space, rather than every mo- 
ment in the garuda’s life. A metaphor illustrates in only a partial way; 
it is not suitable for illustrating everything. Were it so suited, it would 
be the underlying meaning and not a metaphor. 

In one way, since there are different degrees of acumen among 
gods, humans, and other beings, the Great Perfection is the teaching 
for those whose acumen has always been singularly self-sufficient; it is 
not the province of those with inferior acumen. It is for this reason 
that The All-Creating Monarch states: 

The degrees of acumen among gods, humans, and other beings 
are not identical. 

Some have the forceful momentum derived from refining 
their acumen, 

while some have acumen that has always been singularly 
self-sufficient. 

Therefore, select topics are taught. 

This is similar to the ordinary spiritual approach found in The Trea- 
sury of Higher Teachings , which states: 

Some are of this type from the start, 

while others become that way through refinement. 

This chapter is included as a summary and elucidation of the pre- 
ceding four. My general discussion of the Great Perfection approach is 
like a four-story treasury of precious jewels, and the first four topics 



254 The Way of Abiding 


The Individuals to Be Entrusted 255 


are like four keys. The present topic is like a master key that provides 
access to the other keys, which are hidden within this treasury. 

Concerning those to whom these teachings are to be entrusted, 
there are two types of candidates for the heart essence of definitive 
meaning, the general and specific types. Regarding the general type, 
The Great Garuda states: 

Easygoing, as forthright as an innocent, of carefree mind, 
uncomplicated people with spacious minds undertake this. 

As for the specific type of candidates, The Array of Inset Gems states: 

“O accomplished conqueror Vajradhara, 

this secret meaning of the pith instructions of the Great Perfection 
approach is not revealed capriciously. 

I pray, speak of the class, eminent conduct, 
complexion, and characteristics that define the individuals 
to whom this foremost of majestic transmissions of definitive 
truth may be taught.” 

Then the accomplished conqueror Vajradhara 
arose from meditative absorption 

and proclaimed the following to the distinguished retinue: 

“O distinguished retinue gathered here, listen! 

I am teaching, so listen well. 

The different classes are as follows: 

There is the warrior class, the priestly class, 
likewise the great merchant class, 
and the most unique class. 

To these, it is said, the definitive meaning of the secret mantra 
approach is revealed. 

Alternatively, without concern for class, examine complexion. 

Regardless of whether they are men or women, 

those with the following complexion and characteristics 

are said to be candidates for the Great Perfection: 

powerful limbs, dark complexion, 

even, white, and rounded teeth, 

slightly bloodshot eyes, 

hair of great quality, dark brown and curling clockwise, 
a body with small hips, 


unpretentious, speaking forthrightly or echoing all the words 
spoken by another — 
these people speak in such ways. 

It is said that they are taught the instructions of the 
Great Perfection. 

If all these qualities are complete in a person, 
even though a butcher, prostitute, or sweeper, regardless of how 
low a class — 

grant everything, holding nothing back. 

This pith instruction on the three quintessential secrets 
is the skillful means for examining class and complexion. 

In the wake of my nirvana, 

I have revealed this quintessential distillation 

of secret pith instructions, this most majestic and definitive truth. 

You should teach the preceding instructions 
to people who meet these criteria.” 

How Instruction Is Imparted 

Those who are entrusted gain accomplishment as follows: 

They, in turn, do not disseminate this infallible ultimate 
heart essence to everyone, 
but hold it to be their own infallible heart essence . 9 
If the bounds of secrecy are violated, the injunction is broken 
and, owing to misinterpretation, the teachings on the heart 
essence will disappear. 

Therefore, maintain their secrecy and assimilate them 
in a peaceful and happy frame of mind . 10 
Dharmakaya, a majestic state of authentic being, will be gained 
in this lifetime . 11 

Truly worthy students — people to whom these teachings have been 
imparted — do not in turn disseminate them to unsuitable candidates, 
but teach them to those who are suitable. In particular, they do not 
speak of them upwind of those who are unsuitable; even when teach- 
ing suitable candidates, they do so only gradually, having determined 
their suitability. 

Specifically, when they find trustworthy candidates for these teach- 
ings, they teach them gradually, yet without being miserly, teaching 



25 6 The Way of Abiding 


The Individuals to Be Entrusted 257 


while holding nothing back. They enjoin upon them the seals of se- 
crecy and entrustment and advise them, “Hold the heart essence of 
the teachings so that it does not disappear!” 

Since these teachings are not shared with unsuitable candidates, no 
misinterpretation will result, so they will not accumulate the karma of 
repudiating the teachings. Taught to those who are suitable, the heart 
essence of the teachings will endure for a long time in this world, en- 
abling those with the appropriate karma to find liberation from sam- 
sara and awaken to buddhahood in a single lifetime. 

In this regard, if unsuitable candidates are taught, a flaw is in- 
curred that will harm both oneself and others, as The All-Creating 
Monarch states: 

Should one fail to abide by what to accept and reject about 
the ultimate meaning of the heart essence, 
nonhuman entities and spirits will create obstacles, 
and powerful dakas and dakinis will bring untimely death 
and frightening consequences to both oneself and others. 

Owing to misinterpretation, the spiritual approach 
of the heart essence will disappear. 

Therefore, one should avoid inferior kinds of individuals. 

The same source also advises teaching candidates who qualify as 
suitable: 

To free them from worldly clinging and examine their character, 
the guru accepts everything, their bodies and wealth. 

As for whether or not they are capable, 

if they show special signs they are taught the ultimate meaning 
of the heart essence — 

to them is granted the all-creating monarch. 

In particular, the same source speaks of entrusting the teachings to 
those with supreme good fortune: 

This is the oral lineage deriving from the transmission 
of this discourse. 

The all-creating monarch is certainly entrusted to you 
who hold the heart essence without disseminating it 
or allowing it to disappear. 


The Benefits and Advantages of Instruction 

Once one has requested teachings on the true meaning of natural 
great perfection, the benefits and advantages of being instructed are 
worthy of praise. Students with such supreme good fortune delight 
their holy guru with respect and honors. Having requested teachings 
on the meaning of natural great perfection, if they implement them in 
spiritual practice, all that is excellent will be ensured in this and future 
lifetimes. The Great Fundamental Tantra of the Reverberation of 
Sound addresses this at some length: 

When both principal and secondary gurus meet all of the 
respective qualifications, 

serve them with your empire, body, retinue, and wealth. 

Delighting them with your actions and speech, 
rely upon gurus in whom buddhas unite equally. 

With faith, sublime knowing, devotion, a lack of confusion, 
an absence of errors or mistakes concerning what is discussed, 
and clear faculties, rely upon gurus. 

The positive qualities of such reliance 

are similar to those of the wish-granting tree, the wish-fulfilling 
gem, and the wish-granting cow: 
you will gain immeasurable positive qualities. 

Taking this into consideration, rely upon gurus 
because you will win the battle against samsara. 


The supreme secret — the ultimate import of the vajra pinnacle — 
is atiyoga, the basic space of spontaneous presence. 

The manner in which this is imparted, by whom and to whom, 
has been explained in this precious commentary that analyzes 
the fifth topic. 

Throughout immeasurable time, with enormous waves 
of innate compassion, 
hosts of gurus, chosen deities, and dakinis, 
powerful ones who delight in these teachings, 
and oath-bound guardians — rejoice in this! 

With innate compassion, buddhas influence gods, humans, 
and other beings 



258 The Way of Abiding 


in unsurpassable and excellent ways, arousing in them 
consummate devotion and virtue. 

As heirs of those who reach the state of bliss, 
they in turn penetrate to the heart essence of the supreme spiritual 
approach. 

All who do so, rejoice in this from this day forward! 

From The Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding, this is the com- 
mentary on the fifth vajra topic, reaching the definitive conclusion 
concerning the types of individuals to whom these teachings may be 
imparted. 


6 

Conclusion 


Now, there are four stages to this conclusion, which completes this 
treatise: dedication prayers for supreme and total freedom from the 
three realms, dedication prayers for the dissemination and flourishing 
of the teachings throughout the ten directions, the account of who 
authored this treatise and how it is structured, and the arousal of joy 
in fortunate people of future generations. 

Dedication Prayers for Freedom 
from the Three Realms 

The first stage is as follows: 

These teachings thus make 1 fully evident the ultimate meaning 

of the sublimely secret great perfection, so that it is no longer 
elusive. 

May they free all beings without exception, effortlessly 
and naturally, 

within primordial basic space as the ground of being . 2 

In effect, this says: The blazing lamp of this unsurpassable method 
reveals itself and illuminates like the unobscured orb of the sun. With 
this, may the many beings in the three realms realize the nature of 
their minds — naturally occurring timeless awareness — to be perfect as 
ati, the supreme state of natural rest, without anyone making any ef- 
fort whatsoever. May they become holy and venerable masters of the 
indwelling greatness of Samantabhadra! The Six Expanses states: 


259 



The Way of Abiding 


Conclusion z6 i 


z6o 

Within the nature of mind, which is there to be seen, 
the world of appearances and possibilities arises naturally 
in oneness, 

so the freedom of the three realms in their own place 
is perfect in ati, the supreme state of natural rest. 

Dedication Prayers for the Teachings 

The dedication prayers for the dissemination and flourishing of the 
teachings are as follows: 

These teachings, which thoroughly shatter the furthest reaches 
of one’s view, 

are the very pinnacle of spiritual approaches — the basic space 
of the great and majestic garuda, 
the transmission of atiyoga, exalted above all. 

May this victory banner never fall, but unfold throughout 
the ten directions. 

Just as the garuda soaring in space cuts directly across the earth in 
its flight, so atiyoga — natural great perfection — thoroughly cuts 
through the outermost confines of all views. It is beyond all constructs, 
all analysis or synthesis, as The All-Creating Monarch states: 

Like the great garuda soaring in space, 
there is no elaboration, no simplification. 

The very pinnacle of all spiritual approaches is like the summit of 
the most majestic of mountains, as is stated in The Natural Freedom 
That Underlies Characteristics: 

The transmission of atiyoga, the very pinnacle of all 
spiritual approaches, 

is the highest point of all, like a majestic mountain. 

The greatest of the great, the spacious mind of Samantabhadra, 
overwhelms lower approaches with its own power. 

The implications are: “May the presentation of such an approach, 
like the emblem adorning the pinnacle of a precious victory banner, 
never disappear, but spread and flourish throughout the ten directions.” 


Author and Structure 

The following shows who authored this treatise and how it is structured: 

Completely embraced within three categories, nine expanses, 
and four themes, 

the definitive meaning is found in sixteen topics of teachings. 

This detailed explanation, The Precious Treasury of the Way 
of Abiding, 

was composed in an excellent manner by the good 
Longchen Rabjam. 

If we summarize all topics of teaching concerning natural great 
perfection, they can be encompassed within the three categories of 
Mind, Expanse, and Direct Transmission. 

They can also be encompassed within the so-called nine expanses: 
the expanse of original purity as the essence; the expanse of spontane- 
ous presence as the nature; the expanse within which anything that 
arises does so ceaselessly; the expanse free of the contrivance of cau- 
sality; the expanse of the innate purity of error and obscuration 
within the ground of being; the expanse of the primordial purity of 
view and meditation; the expanse free of contrivance and contamina- 
tion, free of anything needing to be done; the expanse of uninter- 
rupted enlightened intent; and the expanse in which phenomena are 
free in their own place. 

These are also encompassed within four themes, that is, embraced 
within the four unchanging themes of the ultimate heart essence — 
ineffability, openness, spontaneous presence, and oneness. Each of 
these four themes is dealt with under four headings — revealing the key 
point, discerning the implications, embracing the larger scope, and 
coming to the decisive experience. This presentation of sixteen topics 
of teaching is arranged so as to reveal the definitive meaning directly. 
Since this treatise provides all that is wished for, like a treasure house 
of precious jewels, I call it the detailed explanation of The Precious 
Treasury of the Way of Abiding, a title that reflects the converging of 
the metaphor and its underlying meaning. 

The words “by Longchen Rabjam, one immersed in genuine being 
through the most majestic spiritual approach,” refer to the name of 
the author because, regarding the ultimate meaning of the nature of 



262 The Way of Abiding 


Conclusion 263 


phenomena, his view and meditation are infinitely spacious like the 
sky. The words “was composed in an excellent manner” show that 
this is to benefit beings of future generations, incorporating the most 
majestic of pith instructions, superior to all others. In revealing the 
very essence, just as it is — the enlightened intent of ati — this triumphs 
over the reification of limits found in lower spiritual approaches and 
overwhelms them with its splendor, so it is referred to as “the ultimate 
heart essence, the great vajra hammer.” Overwhelming the Six Modes 
of Consciousness with Splendor states: 

The basic space of phenomena, without origination or cessation 
in the three times, 

is an unchanging, indivisible, and unformed expanse. 

Since it triumphs over all limitations, it is the great 
vajra hammer. 

This is the most majestic of pith instructions, overwhelming 
all extremes with its splendor. 

Arousing Joy 

The following will arouse joy in fortunate people of future genera- 
tions: 

The definitive meaning, the five chapters of this “ treasure house 
of the way of abiding,” 

is well adorned with a wealth both vast and profound. 

May this 3 treatise, made lovely by a vivid array of words 
and meanings, bring joy to hosts of fortunate people. 

The treasure house of a universal monarch, one who is completely 
victorious in all four directions, is replete with immeasurable wealth 
and adorned with an absolutely splendid array of elegance. Likewise, 
this spontaneously present treasure house of the vajra pinnacle is 
structured with its five definitive topics clearly laid out as distinct lev- 
els. Within, it is replete with the superb wealth of profound and exten- 
sive meaning, and is made extremely lovely by an elegant array of 
words and meanings. 

This, in effect, says, “I advise hosts of fortunate people in future 
generations to use, as the basis for all their conduct, this treatise. 


which has been arranged as an inexhaustible and precious treasure. 
May it bring them true joy.” This concludes the text by adorning it 
with auspicious wishes, providing the interdependence to ensure that 
those who have entered into the true spirit of this most majestic of 
spiritual approaches will have superb samaya, and that these teach- 
ings will endure for a long time. In this regard, adornment with such 
wishes ensures auspiciousness, virtue, and excellence in every way. 
The Web of Magical Display ofManjushri states this well: 

Auspiciousness, universal auspiciousness! 

The auspiciousness proclaimed brings the good fortune of fame. 

Concluding Verses 

Through the thousand lights of benefit and happiness from the 
sun of auspiciousness, 

in all directions there is auspiciousness, dispelling the darkness 
of the four continents. 

The profound meaning of this auspiciousness, marvelous 
and superb, 

reveals the vision of the auspicious, sacred teachings to the many 
kinds of beings. 

Within the open basic space of auspiciousness, the massed clouds 
of nectar 

send down a continuous rain of many auspicious desirables. 

The progression of this spiritual approach — the pinnacle 
of auspiciousness — 

f lets fall the great auspicious downpour that is manifest 

enlightenment. 

Therefore, here is The Precious Treasury of the Way of Abiding, 

a treasury of auspicious bliss and excellence equal to the limits 
of space, 

profound and extensive, the quintessential meaning of the 
sublime spiritual approach, 

the precious treasury that gives rise to all that fortunate ones wish 
for. 

This process is one in which the thousand illuminating lights 
of intelligence 

shine in the spacious sky of the knowable, 



264 The Way of Abiding 


Conclusion 265 


distilling the essential elixir of the tantras, commentaries, 
and instructions. 

It was composed in an excellent manner on the slope of the 
snow mountain Tokar. 

Through the rays of innate compassion of holy ones 
and my own not insignificant powers of discriminating 
intelligence, 

I gained mastery over the vast and profound topics 
of knowledge, 

and my intelligence unfolded naturally through this process. 

The pinnacle of spiritual approaches, natural great perfection, 
the haven of those with great good fortune in this human world, 
has become manifest owing to the grace of holy masters 
in the sublime lands of India, China, and Tibet. 

Supremely learned and accomplished masters, in their 
individual traditions, 

composed commentaries on the enlightened intent 
of the teachings — 

the profound and extensive pith instructions. 

Sacred traditions of spiritual development were defined 
over time, 

firmly planting the victory banner that never falls — 
the teachings of victorious ones. 

Thus did the transmission proceed in stages until, relying 
upon these marvelous topics 
and the blessings of incomparable gurus, 

I composed this Treasury of the Way of Abiding, an exposition 
on the meaning 

of all these vajra topics of natural great perfection without 
exception. 

Since these vajra topics are, moreover, extremely difficult 
to fathom, 

it has not been my experience to perceive them inwardly, 
nor does my capability lie in a mastery of words. 

Still, I have explained them thoroughly by relying 
upon holy masters. 

Just as a creeping vine, supported by a palm tree, 
attains great heights and makes it lovely, 
so through the tantras, commentaries, and instructions, 
as well as the blessings of the gurus, 


I have rendered these profound and extensive topics beautifully. 
The noble embodiment of intelligence spreads its wings 
of realization, 

exquisite in the pure sky of utter lucidity — 
meditative absorption. 

With the arousal of the dynamic energy of enlightened intent — 
naturally occurring timeless awareness — 
the abyss of samsara is truly crossed in basic space. 

From the confines of the egg of unbiased study 
and contemplation 

hatches the bird of the Great Perfection, most majestic 
of spiritual approaches. 

Spreading its wings — perfecting the supreme dynamic energy 
of meditative experience and realization — 
it soars in the basic space overarching everything. 

Moreover, the confining shell of body, speech, and mind 
is shattered. 

This simultaneity of awareness and emptiness, dharmakaya, 
is spaciously empty yet lucid. 

This resolution in the basic space of phenomena is unobstructed. 
This unity of everything in basic space is directly experienced. 
Accordingly, within the nature of the sky, a spacious state 
of equilibrium, 

everything is blended without interruption as one in the naked 
simultaneity of awareness and emptiness. 

Outer and inner are a single basic space, empty yet lucid, without 
transition or change. 

Ongoing authentic being, majestic dharmakaya, is surely gained. 
The transmission that defines with certainty the most sublime 
way of immersion in genuine being within this lifetime 
was revealed by one with an ordinary physical body but the 
enlightened intent of a victorious one, 
who did not entertain concepts about originally pure 
dharmakaya — 

a lion among human beings, who then passed into nirvana. 

Within timelessly empty basic space is a supremely expansive 
state devoid of ordinary consciousness. 

Based upon the blissful ground of being, the conscious mind 
is uninterruptedly content. 



z 66 The Way of Abiding 


Conclusion 2.67 


Within the basic space in which phenomena are resolved, 
the falling away of ordinary consciousness is joyous. 

Immersion in genuine being, the entire vast range of space — 
how marvelous! 

The natural place of rest, dharmakaya, is nonconceptual 
and spacious like the sky. 

Natural meditative stability is uninterrupted like the flow 
of a river. 

With a single realization, all levels and paths without exception 
are traversed. 

Ultimate and wholly positive enlightened intent — 
how marvelous! 

In the pure sky of naturally occurring timeless awareness 

soars the great garuda of realization, of immersion in genuine 
being free of anything needing to be done. 

Ineffability, openness, spontaneous presence, and oneness — 

the uncontrived ultimate heart essence — how marvelous! 

Within this vast expanse of awareness that is naturally manifest 
and spontaneously present, 

regardless of what manifests, it is the unceasing dynamic energy 
of that awareness, 

clearly apparent yet ineffable, simply the illusory display. 

Supreme emptiness endowed with all qualities — how marvelous! 

In this unwavering intent of victorious ones, just as it is, 

the realm of evenness — natural arising, natural freedom, 
natural abiding — 

is blissful, lucid, nonconceptual, spacious without limit or center. 

Enlightened intent that transcends breaches in meditation — 
how marvelous! 

Awareness, empty yet lucid, is unchanging dharmakaya. 

Samsara and nirvana are timelessly pure within the enlightened 
expanse of self-knowing awareness. 

Dualistic perception, naturally manifest yet groundless, 
is the dynamic energy of dharmakaya. 

Realization beyond characterization or description — 
how marvelous! 


If samsara is realized to be without basis, this is nirvana. 

If nirvana is realized to be merely a label, this is primordial 
basic space. 

If there is freedom from anything to be done — transcendence 
of conceptual mind — this is dharmakaya. 

If one rests just so, without thinking, thought and description 
are transcended. 

If there is no fixation on constructs, this is the way of abiding. 

If there is resolution of phenomena — transcendence of ordinary 
consciousness — 

this is the consummation of what is ultimately meaningful. 

If there is transcendence of the extremes of “is” and “is not,” 
this is freedom from limitations. 

If the root of hope and fear is cut through, enlightenment 
is discovered. 

This is the consummate and definitive heart essence. 

In advising those of good fortune in future generations, 

ensure that all those fortunate ones who follow you and others 

gain ongoing authentic being on the level of resolution. 

Natural great perfection is vajra basic space. 

Whoever encounters this receives the most excellent 
and definitive transmission. 

Effortless and totally free, the nature of phenomena 
is a spacious expanse. 

This is truly the precious samaya that brings conditioned 
existence to an end. 

Therefore, fortunate people who have embarked 
on this approach, 

rejoice and rest in the uncontrived, genuine nature. 

Renounce worldly confusion and the phenomena that result 
from conceptual elaboration. 

In a solitary place, look to the heart essence, in which nothing 
need be done. 

This is, in truth, my profound and heartfelt advice. 

Be scrupulous in your examination, and realization will awaken 
in your mind. 

Maintain no fixation, and the confusion that reifies things 
will be destroyed. 



268 The Way of Abiding 


Act without a specific point of reference, and the lack of true 
existence will become apparent as a matter of course. 

Whatever manifests as objects, whatever arises in the mind, 
the key point of these phenomena 
is the state of evenness — utter relaxation, with neither 
suppression nor indulgence. 

Abandon yourself in imperturbable rest, for this is the very 
consummation of enlightened intent. 

The arising of the naturally pristine state in which no traces 
are left leads one to the point of resolution. 

Thus, the quintessential meaning that underlies all phenomena 
without exception 

is explained in this commentary on The Precious Treasury 
of the Way of Abiding. 

May the teachings of victorious ones spread and flourish, 
and may there be auspiciousness, bliss, and excellence 
in all directions and times! 

This concludes the commentary on The Precious Treasury of the 
Way of Abiding , composed in the noble mansion of Samantabhadra 
on the slopes of the snow mountain Tokar by Longchen Rabjam, one 
immersed in genuine being, who has gained mastery over the topics of 
the most majestic of spiritual approaches, being rich in the wealth of 
having heard the entire range of the sublime speech of those who have 
arrived at a state of bliss. 

Good fortune! Good fortune! Good fortune! 


Notes 


These notes serve three purposes. First, wherever we found what we felt were 
misspellings or ambiguous readings, we brought them to the attention of one 
or more of the scholars consulted on this translation. We then rendered these 
words in the way we thought best reflected the intended meaning and identi- 
fied our decisions in the notes. 

Second, Longchen Rabjam quotes from traditional sources to support his 
arguments. In particular, he cites extensively many of the seventeen tantras 
that comprise the scriptural basis for the Category of Direct Transmission in 
the Great Perfection approach. Occasionally, the version of a passage that he 
cites differs from the text of the source currently available to us. Although the 
original source and Longchen Rabjam’s citation are both clear and meaning- 
ful, we chose the version that seemed more pertinent to the context. Again, 
we identified such choices in the notes. 

We referenced the edition of these tantras that was printed at Adzom 
Chogar in eastern Tibet. We wish to acknowledge the enormous benefit we 
derived from the work of Mr. James Valby, who had previously transcribed 
the texts of these tantras in the Wylie system of transliteration, making our 
search for such variant passages much easier. 

Third, there are a number of places where Longchen Rabjam’s source 
verses differ from his citation of those verses in the commentary. Once again, 
we chose the version we thought best reflected the intended meaning and 
identified our choice in the notes. In some instances, we changed the com- 
mentary citation so that it was consistent with the source verse version; in 
others, we changed the source verses to match the commentary citation. In 
the latter case, we also changed the Tibetan text, and so in these places it dif- 
fers from the source verse text that appears in the Adzom Chogar edition. 


270 Notes 


Notes 271 


Chapter 1 

1 . We assume that in this paragraph the two occurrences of the term rig pa 
(awareness) should be rigs pa (logical). 

2. We have chosen the version in the Derge edition, rang gsal (naturally lucid), 
rather than that in the Adzom Chogar edition, nganggsal (innately lucid). 

3. We assume that rlung (subtle energy) is a misspelling of klong (expanse), 
and in fact the revised Adzom Chogar edition has klong. 

4. We have chosen the source verse version, rig pa zang ka la (within . . . 
awareness as such), rather than the commentary version, rig pa zang ka 
ma (awareness as such). 

5. We have chosen the commentary version, de yi mam smin 'bras bu ci 
(What are its inevitable consequences?), rather than the source verse ver- 
sion, mam smin de yi ’ bras bu ci (What is the result of its inevitable rip- 
ening?). 

6. We assume that rgyun (continuity) is a misspelling of rgyan (adornment). 
In both the tantra itself and the same passage as cited in Longchen Rab- 
jam’s The Precious Treasury of the Basic Space of Phenomena, the term 
is rgyan . 

7. We have chosen the commentary version, tha snyad tsam du rdul tsam 
mi dmigs pas (since there is not the slightest frame of reference, even in 
terms of conventional labels), rather than the source verse version, tha 
snyad tsam du’ang de has mi dmigs pas (and even more than that, there 
is no frame of reference, even in terms of conventional labels). 

8. We have chosen the version in the revised Adzom Chogar edition, ma 
phrug (wild goat kid), rather than that in the original Adzom Chogar 
edition, gla phrug (musk deer fawn). 

9. We have chosen the source verse version, ngang gis gnas (abides as a 
matter of course), rather than the commentary version, rang gis gnas 
(abides in and of itself). 

10. We have chosen the source verse version, bio bde’i cog bzhag (imper- 
turbable rest, which is carefree), rather than the commentary version, 
bio bde cog bzhag (imperturbable rest, a carefree state). 

11. We assume that the commentary version, blus (ransomed), is a misspell- 
ing of bslus (fooled), given that the source verses have bslus , and the re- 
vised Adzom Chogar edition has slus (fool). 

1 2. We have chosen the source verse version, chos kyi bdag tu beings (miscon- 
struing phenomena as having identity), rather than the commentary ver- 
sion, chos kyis bdag tu beings (misconstruing identity due to phenomena). 

13. We assume that sgros med (without method) is a misspelling of spros 
med (unelaborate). 


14. We have chosen the commentary version, g.yos pa med pa thog ma’i 
mkha dbyings su (no wavering. . . . Throughout the vastness of original 
basic space), rather than the source verse version, g.yos pa med pa’i thog 
ma i mkha ’ dbyings su (Throughout the vastness of unwavering, original 
basic space). 

15. We have chosen the tantra version, sangs rgyas kun gyi gsang ba’i gnas 
(secret of all buddhas), rather than the commentary version, sangs rgyas 
kun gyi gsang ba’i sngags (secret mantra of all buddhas). 

16. While the commentary version is mi shes sam and the source verse ver- 
sion is ma shes sam, they carry the same meaning (“Don’t you know”). 

17. The commentary version for “body, speech, and mind” is lus ngag sems, 
while the source verse version is the more common expression lus ngag 
yid. (We assume, of course, that lugs is a misspelling of lus.) In addition, 
in the commentary, the term “knot” is in the instrumental case (mdud 
des). 

18. We assume that grong ba (to die) is a misspelling of drang ba (that which 
is provisional), and the revised Adzom Chogar edition has drang ba. 

19. We have chosen the commentary version, rang rig (self-knowing aware- 
ness), rather than the source verse version, which is simply rig pa (aware- 
ness). 

20. We have chosen the source verse version, mkha ’ Itar dag pas theg pa’i 
’dren sgo med (It is pure like space, and so entails no provisional spiri- 
tual approach), rather than the commentary version, mkha ’ Itar dag pa 
theg pa’i ’dren sgo med (It is pure like space. There is no provisional 
spiritual approach). 

21. We have chosen the source verse version, rtog pa (thoughts), rather than 
the commentary version, rtogs pa (realization). 

22. We have chosen the tantra version, las ’das (beyond), rather than the 
commentary version, dang bral (free of). 

23. We have chosen the tantra version, brtag (labeling), rather than the com- 
mentary version, rtag (permanence). 

24. We have chosen the commentary version, snying po bas (since the heart 
essence), rather than the source verse version, snying po la (in the heart 
essence). 

25. We have chosen the commentary version, stong pa’i rang gzugs (the 
natural expressions of emptiness), rather than the source verse version, 
snying po’i rang gzugs (the natural expressions of the heart essence). 

2 6. We have chosen the commentary version, bzang ngan med par (being 
neither positive nor negative), rather than the source verse version, 
which is simply bzang ngan med pa (neither positive nor negative). 



zjz Notes 


Notes 273 


27. We assume that rtogs (realization) is a misspelling of rtog (concepts). 

28. We read rang (self) as rang ka (vague); both the Derge and the revised 
Adzom Chogar editions have rang ka. 

29. We have chosen the commentary version, rig pa las (from awareness), 
which is also found in the Derge edition, rather than the source verse ver- 
sion, rig pa la (in awareness). 

30. We have chosen the commentary version, da (now), rather than the 
source verse version, de (that). 

31. We have chosen the commentary version, byis pa drang ba’i chos (teach- 
ings . . . which are designed to guide the immature), rather than the 
source verse version, byis pa 3 dr a ba 3 i chos (teachings that are similar to 
those who are immature). 

32. We have chosen the version in the revised Adzom Chogar edition, byed 
pa (what is created), rather than that in the original Adzom Chogar edi- 
tion, by as pa (what has been created). 

33. We have chosen the source verse version, bde sdug rgyun mi 3 chad (an 
uninterrupted flow of happiness and suffering), rather than the commen- 
tary version, which gives only sdug bsngal rgyun mi 3 chad (an uninter- 
rupted flow of suffering). 

34. We assume that sgron po is a misspelling of sgrin po (cleverness), and the 
revised Adzom Chogar edition has sgrin po. 

35. We have chosen the source verse version, 3 bad rstol med par (effort- 
lessly), rather than the commentary version, 3 bad rtsol med pas (due to 
the absence of effort). 

36. We have chosen the source verse version, dus nyid nas (even as), rather 
than the commentary version, dus rnyed nas (having discovered the 
point at which). 

37. We assume that rang bzhin nges pas (of a definite nature) is a misspelling 
of rang bzhin med pas (ineffable by nature). 

38. We have chosen the commentary version, blang dor med pa (has nothing 
to do with acceptance or rejection), rather than the source verse version, 
blang dor byed pa (indulging in acceptance and rejection). 

39. We have chosen the source verse version, lo tog (crops), rather than the 
commentary version, lo 3 dab (leaves and petals). 

40. We have kept the commentary version, ming yang med (not even the la- 
bel .. . exists), even though the tantra has yul yang med (not even the ob- 
ject . . . exists). 

41. We have kept the commentary version, mam rtog yid (the concepts of 
discursive mind), even though the tantra version has sna tshogs yul (the 
various kinds of sense objects). 


Chapter 2 

1. We assume that gling bzhi (four continents) is a misspelling of gleng gzhi 
(underlying basis). 

2. We have chosen the source verse version, chos kun (all phenomena), 
rather than the commentary version, chos mams (phenomena). 

3. We have chosen the commentary version, snga phyi ris med (not divisible 
into earlier or later), rather than the source verse version, snga phyi yul 
med (without earlier or later object). 

4. We have chosen the commentary version, mtshan ma 3 i ris dang bral 
(freedom from bias based on characteristics), rather than the source 
verse version, mtshan ma 3 i yul dang bral (freedom from objects with 
characteristics). 

5 . We have chosen the source verse version, mtshon bral (beyond character- 
ization), rather than the commentary version, mtshan bral (beyond char- 
acteristics). 

6. We have chosen the commentary version, mtshams las 3 das (beyond the 
extreme), rather than the source verse version, chos las 3 das (beyond 
phenomena). 

7. We assume that phyal yal in the source verse is a misspelling of phyal yas 
(expansive openness), which is in the commentary. 

8. Assuming that mtha 3 yas is a misspelling of mtha 3 las , we have chosen 
the commentary version, mtha 3 las 3 das pa (the limitations ... are tran- 
scended), rather than the source verse version, chos las 3 das pa (phenom- 
ena ... are transcended). 

9. We have chosen the commentary version, chos kun (all phenomena), 
rather than the source verse version, chos mams (phenomena). 

10. We have chosen the commentary version, cer mthong (perceive this in all 
its freshness), rather than the source verse version, cir mthong (whatever 
. . . perceive). The Derge edition of the source verses also reads cer mthong. 

11. We assume that the source verse version, phyal mas ; is a misspelling of 
phyal yas (expansive openness), which is in the commentary. 

12. We assume that phyam phyam in the source verse is a misspelling of 
phyam phyal (complete openness), which is in the commentary. 

- 13* We have chosen the commentary version, gzhi bde 3 i ngang dang (with 
the blissful ground of being), rather than the source verse version, zhi 
bde 3 i ngang du (within the realm of a state of peace and bliss). 

14. We have chosen the commentary version, rang gdangs (naturally radiant), 
rather than the source verse version, ngang gdangs (innately radiant), and 
the revised Adzom Chogar edition of the source verses has rang gdangs. 



274 Notes 


Notes 275 


1 5 . We have chosen the commentary version, phyal ba rang snang stong par 
beings (subsumed within openness and is naturally manifest and empty), 
rather than the source verse version, phyal ba rang snang stong pas 
beings (embraced by openness and is naturally manifest and empty). 

1 6 . We assume that rtogs ma byed (do not realize) should read rtog ma byed 
(do not think of), and it is cited as such in Chapter I of the commentary. 

17. We assume that a syllable has been added inadvertently, in that ma rig pa 
(nonrecognition of awareness) should readng pa (awareness). 

18. We assume that btsal (to seek) is a misspelling of rtsol (involving effort), 
particularly since the same passage as cited by Longchen Rabjam at the 
close of the Introduction uses rtsol. 

19. We assume that mam pa gnyis (twofold division) is a misspelling of 
mam gnyis med (no twofold division), particularly since the same pas- 
sage as cited by Longchen Rabjam at the close of the Introduction uses 
mam gnyis med. 

20. We assume that bskyed (arousal of) is a misspelling of kyi (of), particu- 
larly since the same passage as cited by Longchen Rabjam at the close of 
the Introduction uses kyi. 

21. We have chosen the commentary version, dmigs su med (no frame of ref- 
erence applies), rather than the source verse version, gnyis su med (there 
is no duality). 

22. We have chosen the commentary version, las * das (beyond), rather than 
the source verse version, la bzla (coming to the decisive experience). 

Chapter 3 

1. We have chosen the source verse version, de nas (furthermore), rather 
than the commentary version, ye nas (timelessly). 

2. We have chosen the commentary version, nam mkha’i ngang las (from 
the realm of space), rather than the source verse version, nam mkka’i 
ngang la (in the realm of space). 

3. We have chosen the commentary version, rang rig gzhi (self-knowing 
awareness, the ground of being), rather than the source verse version, 
rang bzhin gzhi (the nature, the ground of being). 

4. We have chosen the source verse version, rang gdangs (naturally radiant), 
rather than the commentary version, rang mdangs (naturally glowing). 

5. We have chosen the commentary version, sku gsum (three kayas), rather 
than the source verse version, sku ni (kaya). 

6 . We have chosen the commentary version, gzhi (ground), rather than the 
source verse version, ngang (context). 

7. We have chosen the commentary version, btsal ba med de (without hav- 


ing to be sought), rather than the source verse version, rtsol ba med par 
(without effort). While both versions carry meaning, the parallel citation 
from Garab Dorje’s The Direct Encounter with the Three Kayas has 
btsal ba med par (without having to be sought). 

8 . We have chosen the source verse version, mal du 'by or by a ste (immerse 
yourself in genuine being), rather than the commentary version, rnal 
byor zhes bya ste (there is what is called “immersion in genuine being”). 

9. We have chosen the commentary version, ma brten par (without depend- 
ing on), rather than the source verse version, mi ston par (without re- 
vealing). 

10. We have chosen the commentary version, snang yul (objects that mani- 
fest), rather than the source verse version, snang tshul (the manner in 
which manifestation occurs). 

11. We have chosen the source verse version, the imperative form zhog 
(Rest!), rather than the commentary version, the more stative form 
bzhag (One rests). 

12. We have chosen the source verse version, gdangs gsal ba (lucid radiance), 
rather than the commentary version, dangs gsal ba (subtly lucid). 

13. We have chosen the commentary version, spro bsdu med pa'i 3 gag (one 
implication . . . without the coming and going of thoughts), rather than 
the source verse version, which is simply spro bsdu med pa yi (without 
the coming and going of thoughts). 

14. We have chosen the tantra version, de las ma bsgyur (not to deviate from 
this), rather than the commentary version, de las bsgyur ba (the change 
that this brings). 

15. We have chosen the commentary version, rang snang (naturally mani- 
fest), rather than the source verse version, rang bzhin (nature). 

16. We have chosen the commentary version, rol par Ihun grub (spontane- 
ously present as the display), rather than the source verse version, rol pa 
Ihun grub (is the spontaneously present display). 

17. We have chosen the commentary version, bya mi dgos (there is no need 
to try), rather than the source verse version, byar med do (there is noth- 
ing to be done). 

18. We have chosen the commentary version, klong (expanse), rather than 
the source verse version, dbyings (basic space). 

19. We assume that cir snang ma yin (this does not appear as anything) is a 
misspelling of cir yang ma yin (this is nothing whatsoever in itself). 

20. We have chosen the source verse version, mu bzhi’i mtha 3 (the limita- 
tions of the four alternatives), rather than the commentary version, mu 
mtha’i mtha 3 (the limitations of the limiting alternatives). 



zj 6 Notes 


Notes 277 


21. We assume that rlung (wind, subtle energy) is a misspelling of klong (ex- 
panse). 

22. We assume that sa bzhi (fourfold ground) is a misspelling of sa gzhi 
(earth below). 

23. We have chosen the commentary version, Itar (just as), rather than the 
source verse version, dang (and). 

24. We have chosen the commentary version, la (within), rather than the 
source verse version, las (from). 

25. We have chosen the commentary version, ngang dvangs (innately pris- 
tine), rather than the source verse version, rang gdangs (naturally radiant). 

26. We have chosen the commentary version, snang sems (apparent phe- 
nomena and mind), rather than the source verse version, snang bas (due 
to apparent phenomena). 

Chapter 4 

1. We have chosen the commentary version, snang (manifest), rather than 
the source verse version, 'byung (occur). 

2. We have chosen the commentary version, rang ngo (their very essence), 
rather than the source verse version, dang po (at the first). 

3. We have chosen the source verse version, ’byung Ingar snang yang (al- 
though the five elements manifest), rather than the commentary version, 

’ byung Ingar snang ba (the manifestation of the five elements). 

4. We have kept the commentary version, rang byung (naturally occurring), 
even though the tautra has rang snang (naturally manifest). 

5. We have chosen the tantra version, rang la rdzogs pas zhi (peaceful in its 
natural perfection), rather than the commentary version, rang la rdzogs 
pa bzhin (being naturally perfect in itself). 

6. We have chosen the commentary version, chos kun ma ’gags rol pa ci 
shar yang (all phenomena are unceasing, and regardless of the display 
that arises), rather than the source verse version, chos sku ma ’ gags chol 
pa ci shar yang (dharmakaya is unceasing, and regardless of the vagaries 
that arise). 

7. Given that this exact line appears in the citation from The All-Creating 
Monarch that follows, we have chosen the commentary version, bgrang 
na brjod mi lang (any attempt to quantify things would be endless), 
rather than the source verse version, bgrangs na brjod du med (any at- 
tempt to quantify things would lead to there being nothing to say). 

8. We have chosen the commentary version, tha snyad (conventional), 
rather than the source verse version, tha dad (separate). 

9. We have chosen the source verse version, phyi yi chos kun (all outer phe- 


nomena), rather than the commentary version, phyi yi chos rnams (outer 
phenomena). 

10. We have chosen the commentary version, rang gdangs (inherent radi- 
ance), rather than the source verse version, rang mdangs (inherent inner 
glow). 

11. We have chosen the source verse version, dbyings gcig rtogs pa (the real- 
ization of a single basic space), rather than the commentary version, 
dbyings gcig rtag pa (a single, permanent basis space). 

12. We have chosen the source verse version, rang yal (fade away naturally), 
rather than the commentary version, rang gsal (naturally lucid). 

13. We have chosen the commentary version, gang Itar ’gyus pa (however 
the mind stirs), rather than the source verse version, gang shar ’gyus pa 
(the stirring of whatever arises in the mind). 

14. We have chosen the commentary version, chos nyid dgongs par gsal (the 
nature of phenomena is evident as enlightened intent), rather than the 
source verse version, chos nyid dgongs pa gsal (the nature of phenomena 
is clear enlightened intent). 

15. We have chosen the source verse version, the imperative form zhog 
(Rest!), rather than the commentary version, the more stative form 
bzhag (One rests). 

16. We have chosen the source verse version, in which the particle ste indi- 
cates a pause in thought, rather than the commentary version, in which 
the connective particle dang (and) indicates a series. 

17. In all three instances in this sentence, we have chosen the tantra version, 
nga rgyal (pride), rather than the commentary version, sangs rgyas (bud- 
dha). This is also supported by the logical progression of the afflictive 
emotions that are treated in the citation. 

1 8. We have chosen the tantra version, bshad (I will explain), rather than the 
commentary version, shar (there arises). 

19. We have chosen the tantra version, zad (falls away), rather than the com- 
mentary version, zab (profound). 

20. We have chosen the tantra version, yal (things fade), rather than the 
commentary version, grol (there is freedom). 

21. We have chosen the tantra version, du mar stongs (devoid of multiplic- 
ity) — and it is cited as such in Longchen Rab jam’s The Precious Treasury 
of Words and Their Meanings — rather than the commentary version, du 
mar rtogs (realized to be multiplicity). 

22. We have chosen the tantra version, gzhi nas (from the ground of being), 
rather than the commentary version, zhi gnas (abiding calmly). 



zy 8 Notes 


Notes 279 


23. We have chosen the tantra version, btags (posited), rather than the com- 
mentary version, rtogs (realized). 

24. We have chosen the commentary version, mu med (boundless), rather 
than the source verse version, mu bzhi (the four limitations). 

25. We have chosen the commentary version, gcig pur (within oneness), 
rather than the source verse version, gcig pu (oneness). 

26. We have chosen the commentary version, nyer zhi ba (completely sub- 
side), rather than the source verse version, nyer zhi bas (given that . . . 
completely subside). 

27. We have chosen the commentary version, dngos po med (there is no sub- 
stance), rather than the source verse version, dngos por med (there exists 
nothing in, or as, substance). 

28. The actual line cited here is found in The Pearl Garland not The Rever- 
beration of Sound. 

Chapter 5 

1. We have chosen the commentary version, mam rtoggzung ’dzin (dualis- 
tic thinking), rather than the source verse version, rnam rtog chung 
zhing (having few thoughts). 

2. We have chosen the source verse version, bdog pas (with gifts), rather 
than the commentary version, rtogs pas (with realization). 

3. We have chosen the commentary version, snod kun (all candidates), 
rather than the source verse version, snod bcud (the animate and inani- 
mate universe). 

4. We have chosen the tantra version, brdal ba (expanding), rather than the 
commentary version, gdal na (if one expands). 

5. We have chosen the tantra version, rtse gcig gsal ba (this lucid state of 
one-pointedness), rather than the commentary version, rtse gcig ngang 
na (within this one-pointed context). 

6 . We have chosen the tantra version, bio dngos dr an pa (attention that 
reifies things), rather than the commentary version, bio rmongs dran pa 
(attention of deluded mind). 

7. We have presented the version of this section of the tantra as it is cited in 
the commentary. An alternative version, found in the tantra itself, reads 
as follows: 

In meditation that constitutes uncultivated abiding, 
the avenues of the senses are lucid, though thoughts do not stir 
in the conceptual mind. 


Mind that reflects on awareness itself is such that it is not lost 
to outer phenomena. 

Fragmentation is not lucidity, nor does isolation lead to a blank 
apathy, 

nor is there obsession with bliss, nor does impartiality become 
apathy, 

nor is there contrived relaxation in the lucidity of consciousness, 

nor are there paths based on incorrect training, 

nor is there fixation on the perpetuation of inner bliss, 

nor is there reification of clear attributes, 

nor is there manipulation of visualized colors and syllables. 

8. We have chosen the tantra version, rang sar bzhag pa (resting in their 
natural condition), rather than the commentary version, rang sar bzhag 
pas (by resting in their natural condition). 

9. We have chosen the commentary version, mi nub snying po (infallible 
heart essence), rather than the source verse version, don gyi snying po 
(ultimate heart essence). 

10. We have chosen the commentary version, zhi bde’i yid kyis (in a peaceful 
and happy frame of mind), rather than the source verse version, zhe 
dga’i yid kyis (in a joyful frame of mind). 

11. We have chosen the commentary version, tshe \ dir chos sku rgyal po’i 
gtan srid zin (Dharmakaya, a majestic state of authentic being, is gained 
in this lifetime), rather than the source verse version, tshe ’dis chos sku 
rgyal ba’i bstan srid zin (Dharmakaya, the authentic being of victorious 
ones, is attained through this lifetime). 

Conclusion 

1. We have chosen the source verse version, bstan pa ’dis (these teachings 
. . . make), rather than the commentary version, bstan pa ni (as for the 
teachings). 

2. We have chosen the source verse version, gdod ma’i gzhi dbyings (pri- 
mordial basic space as the ground of being), rather than the commentary 
version, gdod ma’i mkha ’ dbyings (primordial spacious expanse). 

3. We have chosen the source verse version, ’dis (may this), rather than the 
source verse version, which is simply ’di (this). 



Sources Cited 


Tibetan authors seldom cite sources by their full titles; rather, they use con- 
tractions, and often different versions thereof. We tried to translate these ver- 
sions in a straightforward way. However, when a contraction seemed ambigu- 
ous or ungrammatical in English (for example, Kun byed [The All-Creating] 
instead of Kun byed rgyal po [The All-Creating Monarch] or Kun gsal [The 
All-Illuminating] instead of Thig le kun gsal [The All-Illuminating Sphere]), 
we opted for the longer version. 

All-Creating Monarch {Kun byed / Kun byed rgyal po / Chos thams cad 
rdzogs pa chen po byang chub kyi sems kun byed rgyal po) 

Augmentation of the Rare and Precious (dKon brtsegs / dKon mchog 
brtsegs pa; Skt. Ary a maharatnakuta dharma paryaya satasahasrika 
granthe trisamvara nirdesaparivarta nama mahayana sutra ) 

Blazing Lamp (sGron ma ’ bar ba / gSer gyi me tog mdzes pa rin po che 
sgron ma ’ bar ba’i rgyud) 

Clear Words ( Tshig gsal; Skt. Mula madhyamaka vrtti prasannapada), by 
Chandrakirti 

Commentary on the Oral Lineage (sNyan brgyud ti ka) 

' Conjunction of the Sun and Moon (Nyi zla kha sbyor / Nyi ma dang zla ba 
kha sbyor ba chen po gsang ba y i rgyud) 

Cutting Through the Three Times (Dus gsum chig chod) y by Garab Dorje 

Deep Immersion in Awareness (Rig pa spyi blugs), by Garab Dorje 



z8z Sources Cited 


Sources Cited 283 


Direct Encounter with the Three Kayas ( sKu gsum thug phrad), by Garab 
Dorje 

Discourse on the Most Majestic State of Meditative Absorption (Ting nge 
’ dzin rgyal po’i mdo; Skt. Ary a sarva dharma svabhava samatavipahcita 
samadhi raja nama mahayana sutra) 

Discourse of the Rare and Sublime Meteor (dKong mchog ta la la’i mdo; 
Skt. Ary a ratnolkdndma dhar ani mahayana sutra) 

Elucidation of the Twenty Thousand Stanzas (Nyi khri snang ba ; Skt. Arya 
pahca vimsati sahasrika prajha par amitopadesa sastra abhisamayalam - 
kara vrtti ), by Vimuktasena 

Examination of the Key Points of Timeliness (Dus gnad brtags pa ), by Pad- 
masambhava 

( Great Fundamental Tantra of the) Reverberation of Sound ((sGra) thal 
’gyur (rsta bad rgyud chen po) / Rin po che ’byung bar byed pa sgra thal 
’ gyur chen po’i rgyud) 

Great Garuda (Soaring in Space) (Khyung chen / Khyung chen mkha’ Iding) 

(Great) Victory Banner That Never Falls(: Supreme Space) (Mi nub pa’i 
rgyal mtshan / Mi nub pa’i rgyal mtshan chen po nam mkha ’ che) 

Heart Essence of Secrets (gSang snying / gSang ba snying po; Skt. Sri guhya- 
garbha tattva viniscaya) 

Major Commentary on the Eight Thousand Stanzas (brGyad stong grel 
chen; Skt. Arya asta sahasrika prajha paramita vyakhya abhisamaya 
lam kara aloka nama), by Haribhadra 

Minor Commentary (on the Eight Thousand Stanzas) ((brGyad stong) grel 
chung; Skt. Abhisamayalam kara nama prajha par amitopadesa sastra 
vrtti), by Haribhadra 

Natural Freedom of Awareness (Rig pa rang grol / Rig pa rang grol chen po 
thams cad ’grol ba’i rgyud) 

Natural Freedom That Underlies Characteristics (mTshan ma rang grol), by 
Garab Dorje 

Overwhelming the Six Modes of Consciousness with Splendor (Tshogs drug 
zil gnon), by Garab Dorje 


Pearl Garland (Mu tig phreng ba / Mu tig rin po che phreng ba’i rgyud) 

Samantabhadra : Mirror of Enlightened Mind (Kun tu bzang po thugs kyi 
me long / Kun tu bzang po thugs kyi me long gi rgyud ces bya ba thams 
cad ston pa’i rgyud) 

Six Expanses (kLong drug pa / Kun tu bzang po klong drug pa’i rgyud) 

Source Verses on the Middle Way (dBu ma rtsa ba; Skt. Prajhanama mula 
madhyamaka karika), by Nagarjuna 

Spoken Words: The Secret Oral Lineage (Kha gtam gsang ba’i snyan 
brgyud), by Shri Singha 

Tantra of Adornment Through Direct Introduction (Ngo sprod spras pa’i 
rgyud / Ngo sprod rin po che spras pa’i zhing khams bstan pa’i rgyud) 

(Tantra of the) All-Illuminating Sphere (Kun gsal / Thig le kun gsal) 

(Tantra of the Great and) Perfect Dynamic Energy of the Lion (Seng ge rtsal 
rdzogs (chen po’i rgyud)) 

(Tantra of) Heaped Jewels (Rin po che spungs pa I Rin po che spungs pa’i 
rgyud / Rin chen spungs pa yon tan chen po ston pa rgyud kyi rgyal po) 

Tantra of Naturally Occurring Perfection: The River of Empowerment 
(rDzogs pa rang byung dbang gi chu bo’i rgyud I sKu thams cad kyi 
snang ba ston pa dbang rdzogs pa rang byung chen po’i rgyud) 

Tantra of Precious Blazing Remains (sKu gdung ’ bar ba rin po che’i rgyud / 
dPal nam mkha ’ med pa’i sku gdung ’bar ba chen po’i rgyud) 

Tantra Summarizing the Ultimate Meaning (Nges don ’dus pai rgyud) 

(Tantra of the Supreme) Array of Inset Gems (Nor bu phra bkod chen po’i 
rgyud / Nor bu phra bkod rang gi don thams cad gsal bar byed pa’i 
rgyud) 

Tantra of the Supreme Beauty of Auspiciousness (bKra shis mdzes Idan chen 
po’i rgyud / bKra shis mdzes Idan chen po’i rgyud dpal nam mkha ’ med 
pa chen po’i rgyud) 

(Tantra of Supreme) Naturally Arising Awareness (Rang shar / Rig pa rang 
shar / Rig pa rang shar chen po’i rgyud / De bzhin gshegs pa thams cad 
kyi ting nge 3 dzin yongs su bshad pa ye shes ’dus pa’i mdo theg pa chen 



284 Sources Cited 


po gsang ba bla na med pad rgyud chos thams cad kyi ’ byung gnas sangs 
rgyas thams cad kyi dgongs pa gsang sngags gcig pad ye shes rdzogs pa 
chen pod don gsal bar byed pad rgyud rig pa rang shar chen pod rgyud) 

Tantra of the Supreme Secret: The Enlightened Mind of All Tathagatas (De 
bzhin gshegs pa thams cad kyi thugs gsang ba chen pod rgyud) 

Tantra Without Letters ( Yi ge med pa / Yi ge med pad rgyud / Yi ge med pad 
rgyud chen po zhes by a ba rin po che rgyal mtshan gyi rgyud rgyal pod 
gdud rgyud Ita ba nam mkha y dang mnyam pad rgyud chen po y o) 

Text of (Precious) Copper Letters (Zang kyi yig can / Zangs kyi yi ge can / 
Rin po che zangs kyi yi ge can) 

Treasury of Higher Teachings ( mDzod / Chos mgnon pa mdzod; Skt. Abhi- 
dharmakosa karikd ), by Vasubandhu 

Treasury of Songs of Realization (Do ha mdzod) 

Vajra Fortress ( rDo rje mkhar rdzong ), by Garab Dorje 

Vajrasattva: Mirror of the Heart ( rDo rje sems dpa y snying gi me long I rDo 
rje sems dpa ’ snying gi me long gi rgyud) 

Web of Magical Display ofManjushri ( ’Jam dpal sgyu y phrul drva ba) 

White Lotus(: The Major Commentary on the Kalachakra) (Dus ’khor gyi 
y grel chen Padma dkar po) 


Word List 


We have included this word list because the translation of Tibetan terms has 
yet to be standardized and readers will undoubtedly encounter alternative 
translations of key terms in other works. We have provided phoneticized ver- 
sions of the Tibetan terms, rendered according to the eastern Tibetan dialect, 
to aid readers unfamiliar with the Wylie system of transliteration. Some En- 
glish words may be listed under the idiom in which they occur in the text (for 
example, “imagination” is listed under the idiom “beyond imagination”). 


English 

Wylie Transliteration 

Pronunciation 

abide 

gnas pa 

nay pa 

absence of extremes 

phyogs med 

chok may 

acceptance and 

rejection 

blang dor, spang blang 

lang dor, pang lang 

adornment 

rgyan 

jen 

adventitious distortions 

glo bur gyi dri ma 

lo bur ji dri ma 

affirmation and denial 

rtag chad 

tak chay 

afflictive emotion 

nyon mongs pa 

nyon mong pa 

all-creating 

kun byed 

kun jay 

all-encompassing 

’ub chub 

00b choob 

apparent objects 

yul snang 

yul nang 

apparent phenomena 

snang ba 

nang wa 

arise 

’char ba, shar ba 

char wa, shar wa 

authentic 

bden pa 

den pa 

awakened mind 
(Dzogchen context; 

Skt. bodhicitta) 

byang chub kyi sems 

jang chub chi sem 


285 



286 Word List 


Word List 287 


English 

Wylie Transliteration 

Pronunciation 

English 

Wylie Transliteration 

Pronunciation 

awakening mind 



conceptual mind 

yid 

yi 

(sutra context; 



conditioned existence 



Skt. bodhicitta) 

byang chub kyi sems 

jang chub chi sem 

and the state of peace 

srid zhi 

si zhi 

awareness 

rig pa 

rig pa 

conduct 

spyod pa 

cho pa 




confirmed or refuted 

grub bsal 

drup sal 

basic space of 



confusion 

’khrul pa 

trul pa 

phenomena 



consciousness 

rnam shes, shes pa 

nam shay, shay pa 

(Skt. dharmadhatu) 

chos kyi dbyings 

cho chi ying 

construct 

dmigs pa 

mik pa 

basis 

gzhi 

zhi 

continuous 

rgyun chad med pa 

jun chay may pa 

beyond characterization 



created 

byas pa 

jay pa 

and expression 

mtshon brjod las ’das pa tson jo lay day pa 

cutting through solidity 

khregs chod 

trek cho 

beyond description, 






imagination, or 



defining characteristic 

mtshan nyid 

tsen nyi 

expression 

smra bsam brjod las 

ma sam jo lay day pa 

definitive meaning 

nges don 

ngay don 


’das pa 


deliberate action 

bya byed 

jajay 

beyond imagination 



deliberate effort 

bya rtsol 

ja tsol 

or expression 

bsam brjod las ’das pa 

sam jo lay day pa 

deny or affirm 

dgag sgrub 

gak drup 

bias 

ris 

ree 

described 

brjod 

jd 

body, speech, and mind 

sgo gsum 

go sum 

direct transmission 

man ngag 

men ngak 




discerning the 



calm abiding 

zhi gnas 

zhi nay 

implications 

’gag bsdams pa 

gak dam pa 

Category of Direct 

- 


discursive thought 

rnam rtog 

nam tok 

Transmission 

man ngag sde 

men ngak day 

display 

rol pa 

rol pa 

Category of Expanse 

klong sde 

long day 

dualistic perception 

gnyis ’dzin, gzung ’dzin 

nyee dzin, zung dzin 

Category of Mind 

sems sde 

sem day 

dynamic energy 

rtsal 

tsal 

cause and effect, 






causality 

rgyu ’bras 

ju dray 

effort and achievement 

rtsol sgrub 

tsol drup 

ceaselessly, unceasing 

’gag med 

gak may 

eight modes of 



clearly apparent 



consciousness 

tshogs brgyad 

tsok jay 

yet ineffable 

med pa gsal snang 

may pa sal nang 

elaboration 

spros pa 

tro pa 

come to a decisive 



embrace 

beings pa 

ching pa 

experience 

la bzla ba 

la da wa 

embrace the larger scope chings su being ba 

ching su ching wa 

come to a definitive 



emptiness 

stong pa nyid 

tong pa nyi 

conclusion 

gtan la dbab pa 

ten la wap pa 

empty form 

stong gzugs 

tong zug 

compassion 

snying rje 

nying jay 

empty yet lucid 

stong gsal 

tong sal 

composite 

’dus byas 

dii jay 

enlightened activity 

phrin las 

trin lay 

concept, conceptual 



(enlightened) embodi- 



thought, conceptual- 



ment, form 

sku 

ku 

ization 

rtog pa 

tokpa 

enlightened intent 

dgongs pa 

gong pa 



288 Word List 


Word List 289 


English 

Wylie Transliteration 

Pronunciation 

English 

Wylie Transliteration 

Pronunciation 

enlightened mind 

thugs 

tuk 

heart drop 

snying thig 

nying tik 

enlightened speech 

gsung 

sung 

heart essence 

snying po 

nying po 

enlightenment 

byang chub 

jang chup 




equalness 

mnyam pa nyid 

nyam pa nyi 

identity 

bdag 

dak 

equilibrium 

phyam gdal, brdal 

cham dal 

immersion in genuine 



equipoise 

mnyam bzhag 

nyam zhak 

being (Skt. yoga) 

rnal ’byor 

nal jor 

essence 

ngo bo 

ngo wo 

imperturbable rest 

cog bzhag 

chok zhak 

evenness 

mnyam pa nyid 

nyam pa nyi 

inconceivable 

bsam med 

sam may 

evidence 

rtags 

tak 

indescribable 

smra med 

ma may 

exaggeration and 



indeterminate 

nges med 

ngey may 

denigration 

sgro skur 

dro kur 

ineffable by nature 

rang bzhin med pa 

rang zhin may pa 

existence 

yod pa 

yd pa 

ineffability 

med pa 

may pa 

expanse 

klong 

long 

inevitable consequence 

rnam smin 

nam min 




inexpressible 

brjod med 

jo may 

fixation 

zhen ’dzin 

zhen dzin 

innately unsullied, 



foundation 

gzhi 

zhi 

innate lucidity 

ngang dvangs 

ngang dang 

four alternatives 

mu bzhi 

mu zhi 

inner lucidity 

nang gsal 

nang sal 

framework, frame 



invest with true 



of reference 

dmigs pa 

mik pa 

existence 

bden ’dzin 

den dzin 

free of anything 






needing to be done 

bya bral 

ja dral 

level of realization 



free of limitations 

mtha’ bral 

ta dral 

(Skt. bhumi) 

sa 

sa 

freedom, free 

’grol ba 

drol wa 

limitation 

mtha’ 

ta 

freely 

rgya yan 

ja yen 

logical absurdity 

ha cang thal ba’i rigs pa 

ha chang tal way rig pa 

fruition 

’bras bu 

dray bu 

lucidity 

gsal ba 

sal wa 

fundamentally 






unconditioned 

gshis 

shee 

magical display, 






magical expression 

cho ’phrul 

cho trul 

Great Perfection 



master of awareness 

rig ’dzin 

rig dzin 

approach, 



meaningful, ultimate 



great perfection 

rdzogs (pa) chen (po) 

dzog (pa) chen (po) 

meaning 

don 

don 

ground of being 

gzhi 

zhi 

meditation, cultivate 



ground of being as 



in meditation 

sgom pa 

gom pa 

basic space 

gzhi dbyings 

zhi ying 

meditative absorption 

ting nge ’dzin 

ting ngay dzin 

ground of being mani- 



meditative stability 

bsam gtan 

sam ten 

festing as appearances 

gzhi snang 

zhi nang 

mind, ordinary mind 

sems 

sem 




mindstream 

rgyud 

jh 

habitual pattern 

bag chags 

bak chak 




has never existed 

ma grub pa 

ma drup pa 

natural freedom 

rang grol 

rang drol 



290 Word List 


Word List 291 


English 

Wylie Transliteration 

Pronunciation 

English 

Wylie Transliteration 

Pronunciation 

natural great perfection 

rang bzhin rdzogs pa 

rang zhin dzog pa 

positive and negative 




chen po 

chen po 

actions 

dge sdig 

gay dik 

natural lucidity 

rang gsal 

rang sal 

primordial 

gdod ma, thog ma 

do ma, tok ma 

natural mind 

rang sems 

rang sem 

produced 

byas pa 

jay pa 

naturally manifest 

rang snang 

rang nang 

profound insight 

lhag mthong 

lhak tong 

naturally occurring 

rang byung 

rang jung 

provisional meaning 

drang don 

drang don 

naturally pristine 

rang sangs 

rang sang 

pure vision 

dag snang 

dak nang 

naturally unsullied 

rang d(v)angs 

rang dang 




nature 

rang bzhin 

rang zhin 

quantum leap 

thod rgal 

to gal 

nature of mind 

sems nyid 

sem nyi 




nature of phenomena 



radiance 

gdangs 

dang 

(Skt. dharmata) 

chos nyid 

cho nyi 

range of finite 



noncomposite 

’dus ma byas 

dii ma jay 

experience 

spyod yul 

cho yul 

nondual 

gnyis med 

nyee may 

realize 

rtogs pa 

tok pa 

nonexistence, 



recognition 

ngo shes 

ngo shay 

nonexistent 

med pa 

may pa 

reify 

’dzin pa, gzung ba 

dzin pa, zung wa 

nonexistent as an object 

yul med 

yul may 

relative reality 

kun rdzob 

kun dzop 

nonrecognition of 



resolve 

zad pa 

zay pa 

awareness 

ma rig pa 

ma rig pa 

responsiveness 

thugs rje 

tuk jay 

nonreferential 

yul med 

yul may 

restrictions 

rgya chad 

gya chay 

not abide in any 



reveal the key point 

gnad bkrol ba 

nay trol wa 

specific way 

mi gnas pa 

mi nay pa 




not defined by restric- 



self-identity 

gang zag gi bdag 

gang zak gi dak 

tions or extremes 

rgya chad phyogs 

ja chay chok 

simultaneity of appear- 




lhung med pa 

lhung may pa 

ance and emptiness 

snang stong 

nang tong 

not made and then 



simultaneity of aware- 



unmade 

’du bral med pa 

du dral may pa 

ness and emptiness 

rig stong 

rig tong 




six modes of 



object, sense object 

yul 

yul 

consciousness 

tshogs drug 

tsok druk 

oneness 

gcig pu 

chik pu 

skillful means 

thabs 

tap 

openness 

phyal ba 

chal wa 

spacious 

yangs pa 

yang pa 

ordinary consciousness 

bio 

lo 

sphere 

thig le 

tig lay 

original purity 

ka dag 

ka dak 

spontaneous presence 

lhun grub 

lhun drup 




subjective perceptions 

yul can 

yul chen 

perceiver 

yul can 

yul chen 

sublime knowing 

shes rab 

shay rap 

pervasive and extensive 

khyab brdal 

chab dal 

substance 

dngos po 

ngo po 

phenomenon 

chos 

cho 

subtle lucidity 

dvangs 

dang 

pith instructions 

man ngag 

men ngak 

suchness 

de bzhin nyid 

de zhin nyi 

positive and negative 

dkar nag 

kar nak 

supreme transference 

’pho ba chen po 

po wa chen po 



292 Word List 


Word List 


293 


English 

Wylie Transliteration 

Pronunciation 

English 

Wylie Transliteration 

Pronunciation 

ten attributes 

rang bzhin bcu 

rang zhin chu 

without true 



thatness 

de (kho na) nyid 

de (ko na) nyi 

existence 

bden med 

den may 

theme 

chings 

ching 

world of appearances 



timeless awareness 

ye shes 

yey shay 

and possibilities 

snang srid 

nang si 

timelessly 

ye nas 

yey nay 




transmission 

lung 

lung 




true existence 

bden pa 

den pa 




ultimate reality 

don dam 

don dam 




unbiased 

phyogs med 

chok may 




unborn 

skye med 

chay may 




uncontrived 

ma bcos 

ma cho 




uninterrupted 

bar med 

bar may 




unique 

nyag gcig 

nyak chik 




universe 

nod bcud 

no chii 




unobstructed 

zang thal 

zang tal 




unrestricted, 






without restrictions 

rgya yan 

jayen 




utter lucidity 

’od gsal 

6 sal 




vacillate 

g.yo ba 

yo ba 




vanish naturally 

rang dengs 

rang deng 




vast expanse 

klong chen 

long chen 




waver 

g.yo ba 

yo ba 




way of abiding 

gnas lugs 

nay luk 




wholly positive 






(Skt. Samantabhadra) 

kun bzang 

kun zang 

* 



wide-open clarity 

har sangs 

har sang 




without anything 






needing to be done 

byar med 

jar may 




without characteristics 

mtshan (ma) med (pa) 

tsen (ma) may (pa) 




without coming together 





or separating 

’du bral med pa 

du dral may pa 




without differentiation 






or exclusion 

dbye bsal med pa 

yey sal may pa 




without substance 

dngos med 

ngo may 




without transition or 






change 

’pho ’gyur med pa 

po jur may pa